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Beloved, Chapter 12

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: So tired.  Should not post really really late on Friday nights, but not sure if I'll get another chance this weekend so posting now just in case.

The usual thanks to Little House in the Woods for the beta.

Previous chapter


Beloved Chapter 12



Cloud awoke to pitch black – amazed that he’d been able to fall asleep, given the circumstances, and certain that hours had passed.    Genesis’s arm was a lead weight on his side, and the breathing at his back slow and even. 


Carefully, he pushed the arm away and slid out from under the covers, fumbling as he felt around for his boots.  Genesis let out a disgruntled mumble.  Two thin semi-circles of blue light appeared in the darkness.  “Cloud?” he slurred.  His normally smooth voice had gained a grainy, flinty texture.


“Sorry. I’m heading out.  Go back to sleep.”  He hesitated, and then added, “I’ll be back tomorrow.”  They could talk things over then, after he’d had some time to think.


His words were met with a bleary glare, then Genesis rolled back over, and the twin circles of mako disappeared.


Not even remotely a morning person.


He located his boots near the foot of the bed, then his shoulder pauldron and gloves.  His sword harness was the easiest to find, as old habits had him keeping a mental lock on its whereabouts at all times.  Once properly dressed, he eased open the door and slipped into the black hallway beyond.


Stars still sparkled overhead when he finally stumbled outside.  He fished out his phone, and the time read one-thirty in the morning.  It was confusing until he realised they’d gone to sleep well before the time he normally arrived back in Edge.


He contemplated heading back inside for a few hours, at least until it was lighter out, but he was too keyed up.  If some of the nocturnal predators took a go at him, for once he’d welcome the chance for a fight.


Fenrir waited for him nearly two sectors away.  With a heavy sigh, Cloud started walking through the night.  He should have made Genesis fly him back to his bike instead of the theatre while they were still in the air, though the ulterior motives of that move were now obvious.  The former Commander was sneaky, he knew that – he just never expected his sneakiness to manifest in that direction.


If he weren't careful, Genesis would steamroll him into his bed just as easily as he'd roped him into clone-searching and sparring and staying until the end of Loveless performances. 


Now Cloud needed to decide whether he wanted to let that happen or not.


The idea didn’t disturb him as much as it should have – if anything, the idea felt more natural than trying to force his dysfunctional relationship with Tifa forward.  But he was supposed to like girls, right?  He was fairly sure he had a crush on Tifa back in Nibelheim, although he’d left right on the cusp of adolescence.  He’d thought he’d been in love with Aeris, too, but his feelings towards her were too jumbled with Zack’s and too wrapped up in guilt that he couldn’t be sure anymore whether it had been genuine attraction or just deep friendship.


It made an uncomfortable amount of sense, though.  It wasn’t normal for a guy not to respond when a girl – especially a girl like Tifa – all but threw themselves into their bed, right?  Not unless they were fundamentally uninterested.


And the more he thought about it, the more he started to wonder if he’d already confronted this question.  The two years he’d spent as a cadet and a trooper in ShinRa had the most gaps in his memories, but if he pressed hard he thought he could recall several achingly embarrassing mornings, and being dragged out to Sector 6 and finding his eyes wandering in the wrong directions… 


Had he simply forgotten?


That brought on another disturbing idea - that perhaps his idolisation of Sephiroth had more to it than simple hero worship.


Cloud wanted to beat his head against a wall.


The scuffle of claws on asphalt gave him pause, and his fingers sought First Tsurugi’s hilt.  A pair of ruby-red eyes loped past in the darkness, swinging to focus on him briefly.  A growl rumbled from the shadows, but the hell hound continued cautiously past.  Hounds were pack creatures.  It wouldn’t start a hunt alone.


Cloud relaxed his grip and kept walking. 


Genesis was admittedly attractive.  Many of his fans back in ShinRa’s glory days were no doubt drawn by his looks alone.  And that first kiss…


Gaia.  He really was seriously considering it.


What about Tifa?  And the kids?  It wasn’t right.  He couldn’t just start-


A screech had him whipping his sword from its holster, slashing at the dark shadow swooping overhead.  The screech turned into a scream, and the death gaze tumbled to the ground, leathery wings flapping and twisting awkwardly.  Its single massive eye opened wide, the iris seeming to glow-


Cloud speared it, half-burying the blade in the slitted pupil.  The shriek died and the glow faded as the body fell limp.  His weapon pulled free with a wet squelch.  Death gazes could be tricky – the deadlier cousin of the usual ahrimans gracing Midgar’s skies.  The quicker you killed them, the better.


He moved on, striding through the darkness.  A small flock of vampire bats took a go at him as well, but nothing else bothered him.  It took a little under two hours before he finally found his way back to Fenrir.  The motorcycle waited for him undisturbed on the empty street, the sharp cold from the metal biting through his gloves.  The engine coughed and grumbled unhappily to life when he turned the ignition, and he let it run for a minute to warm up.


He tugged at his gloves, flexing his hand a few times, trying not to recall the sensation of leather being tugged free and fleeting heat against his bare palms.  His stomach obliged him with a rumble.  Not only had they gone to bed far too early, but neither of them had eaten dinner.  Genesis clearly had other ideas on his mind, and in the aftermath they’d both forgotten.


Once the bike had sufficiently warmed up, he kicked Fenrir into gear and drove down one of the many cracked, half-overgrown roads out of Midgar.  The engine thundered in the oppressive silence of early morning.


It was a bad idea.  The worst.  As much time as they’d been spending together, Genesis remained an unknown, unpredictable entity who would attack with the slightest of provocations.  He was fickle, paranoid, and maybe even a little crazy – though Cloud was hardly one to judge.  Plus the only reason the redhead was even interested was probably due to a spectacular lack of contact with anyone else.


Yet he couldn’t stop thinking about it. 


The horizon lightened to a dark blue, the stars began to disappear, and the half-moon began to sink in the sky.  He soon passed Midgar’s looming walls and headed out onto the wastes.  The wildlife began to thin – a lack of cover kept smaller fauna away, and without prey there were no predators.  Fenrir rumbled into Edge not long before sunrise.  The streets were still empty and the buildings dark and silent. 


Cloud was turning down the backstreet that led to the garage when a flash of red caught his eye.  Reflexively, he turned to look – half expecting to see Vincent’s cloak – then he slammed on the brakes, gravel squealing under Fenrir’s tyres as he spun to a stop.


Bodies.  Three of them, strewn across the alleyway.


In pieces.


His stomach turned, but he forced himself to look, to catalogue everything, even as he pulled First Tsurugi from his bike and listened for any signs of movement nearby.  The blood still glistened.  They hadn’t been dead for long – a couple of hours at the most.


One’s limbs were pulled completely from their sockets – torn flesh and muscles pooled into a puddle of dark mercury under the pale light.  The second had his neck broken, head twisted at a grotesque angle, blank eyes staring unseeing into the morning sky.  The third’s legs had been snapped, compound fractures at impossible angles, and bore a fist-sized hole all the way through his torso. 


All unquestionably dead.


Then he recognised the faces – what had survived unscathed - and his mouth turned dry.


It was the original trio of teens who’d been harassing him, calling him out for being a SOLDIER.


The clone had taken his first civilian casualties.







He called Reeve.  He didn’t have any other choice.  He made him promise to keep Tifa out of it though, at least until the bodies had been cleared away.  No reason for more people to see than necessary.


The WRO moved quickly, especially given the time of morning, but the Turks were on the scene just as fast.  Either Reeve had called them, or they’d tapped someone’s phone.  Maybe both.  Cloud found it hard to resent their presence though, when they got the area cordoned off before the sun finished rising.  Less than two hours later, they’d gathered the evidence and had the bodies shipped off to the morgue, to learn as much as they could before they dissipated into the Lifestream.


It was actually a little disturbing how efficient they were at it.


Cloud waited on his bike as the WRO and Turks finished up – stomach still churning at the memory of the sight.  Rude stood a short distance away, supervising the last of the clean-up.  Reno was talking on his phone next to him.  Cloud watched them warily.


Especially when the redhead suddenly stiffened, snapped his phone shut, and whirled towards Cloud.


Surprise rooted his feet to the ground as the Turk advanced on him, snarling, “You traitorous bastard!”


Cloud’s hand snapped up – his gloves the only protection from the stinging bite of Reno’s electro rod.  “What the hell is wrong with you?” he demanded.


“That’s my line!  I can’t believe you piece of trash-” Reno swung again.


He slapped the weapon aside with his knuckles, the force of the blow sending it spinning from the Turk’s grasp.  Reno swore viciously, and a flash of silver glinted in his hand as he flipped open a pocket knife instead.  He attacked with surprising speed, jabbing and slicing, but Cloud twisted easily out of the way, eyes tracking the lightning-quick flash of the blade.


He was about to reach for his sword when Rude stepped in, grabbing his partner in an arm lock.  “Oi!  Rude!  The hell?!  Let me go!”


“Reno,” Rude said warningly, and then murmured something in his ear, too low for even Cloud’s advanced hearing to catch.


“That’s bullshit,” Reno snarled.


Rude muttered something else.


Whatever he said, it must have got through, as Reno slumped in his grasp.  “Okay, fine, I get it.”  He flashed Cloud a venomous look – the kind of expression he hadn’t seen on the Turk since pre-Meteor days – then slunk towards one of the vans cordoning off the area.


Cloud massaged his knuckles, working out the pins and needles from its brush with the electro-rod.  Reno must have had it on maximum for any of it to cut through his gloves. 


A moment later, Rude came up to him.  “Mind telling me what that was about?” Cloud asked with a scowl.


As always, it was difficult to tell what the Turk was thinking with his business expression on, eyes hidden behind dark shades.  Though Cloud shouldn’t talk – he’d slipped his sunglasses on after calling Reeve and hadn’t taken them off since.


“We I.D.’d the victims,” Rude said abruptly.  “Three teenagers.  WRO’s security branch had them down for several misdemeanours.  No confirmation yet, but they were known for frequenting the area outside Seventh Heaven.”


Cloud tensed, and did his best not to react.


“Oi, Rude!” Reno called, tone still sour.  He tossed over his phone.  “Tseng.”


Rude caught the phone one-handed and held it to his ear.  There was a long silence.  “Yes.”  A longer silence.  “Right.”


Cloud hopped back on Fenrir – it looked like they were finishing up, and by the glares Reno kept shooting his way, it was clear he wasn’t wanted.  As he turned the ignition, though, Rude hung up and turned towards him.  “Strife.”


He waited. 


“Tseng has requested you stick around town for a few days.  To help with the investigation.”


His stomach turned to ice, and Reno’s flip out suddenly made sense.


He knew this development would be bad.  Things were already in a precarious balance, a powder keg ready to blow with the slightest spark.  The only thing that had been keeping everyone calm was the lack of civilian involvement.


But this wasn’t something he ever anticipated.  These civilians…  Clones were supposed to go after him, or his loved ones.  Not his enemies.


And Cloud didn’t have an alibi.

Next chapter


( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 31st, 2012 02:44 pm (UTC)
Ooooh. Man what an ending. Aah, I wanna
Aug. 31st, 2012 05:11 pm (UTC)
What?! They couldn't honestly think Cloud was behind the attacks?

But d'aww~ sleepy Genesis ♥
Totally understand Cloud's concerns though. With his current situation Genesis doesn't have a lot of choice when it comes to sex partners :\

And yep, I'm totally thinking Cloud had a thing for Sephiroth back in the days :D

Thanks a lot for the update!
Sep. 3rd, 2012 12:00 pm (UTC)
You're welcome!

Heh, sleepy!Genesis seems to get the same reactions that a half-asleep kitten might.
Aug. 31st, 2012 07:37 pm (UTC)
That brought on another disturbing idea - that perhaps his idolisation of Sephiroth had more to it than simple hero worship.
The amount of giggling I am doing is kind of scaring my parents right now. xD *crazy multishipper dorkfish* I just love all the lines of thought Cloud hits up while contemplating the situation. x3

Also sleepy!Genesis is precious and also reminds me of myself. I keep on telling people Genesis is my soul twin and this isn't helping. |D;

Oh shiiiiiit is all I can say in response to the second half though, especially re: the Turks. A part of me wonders if the clone isn't some old copy of Genesis' that woke up and was still degrading - thus the silver hair - and still has some sort of connection with Gen still - thus leading to the clone/copy killing Cloud's enemies instead of the expectation of a clone attacking Cloud and/or his loved ones. Random speculation, but we'll see, y/y? Watch, knowing my luck, it'll be something out of left field I won't see until it whacks us readers upside the head.
Aug. 31st, 2012 09:02 pm (UTC)
... my first thought was, "Dammit Genesis, stop being a mother hen!" then I realised he was asleep in bed with Cloud at the time.
Aug. 31st, 2012 10:05 pm (UTC)
lmao, gotta admit a part of me went there first. xD Though, you have to think, Cloud hasn't really told anyone he's had problems with these teens, or if he has, he certainly hasn't pointed them out in a crowd. Which leads back to my theory about the clone/copy in that it maybe saw them bothering Cloud from a distance and, for reasons the clone/copy may not understand itself, went after them. :B *probably overthinking things*
Sep. 3rd, 2012 12:03 pm (UTC)
Square made a character we can all identify with. Except instead of Loveless, we pore over FFVII. XD

I love random speculation! Although sometimes you guys have way better ideas than what I actually came up with. XD
Sep. 3rd, 2012 03:12 pm (UTC)
lmao, exactly! Even people who profess to hate Genesis do have that similar level of obsession. x3 even if none of us would use it as a base to go off of in trying to cure ourselves of a debilitating disease. *pets Gen*

Shh, I'm sure whatever you have planned is just as amazing, if not better. <3
Aug. 31st, 2012 10:39 pm (UTC)
What was Reno told on the phone that made him so angry at Cloud? Did he know those were the boys who harassed Cloud outside the bar? And did he then think Cloud had killed Elena?

You know, when I see an update in my inbox I am elated, but when I'm done reading I think - gah! Six more days before another update!
Sep. 3rd, 2012 12:04 pm (UTC)
Ha, sorry! We are getting into the tiny-bit cliffhangery section I guess.
Sep. 5th, 2012 01:43 am (UTC)
After reading the other comments I am tickled that the interaction between Genesis and Cloud are - what - nine sentences? And they made the biggest impact.

It's impossible to not love your Genesis, even when he's grumpy.
Sep. 1st, 2012 01:05 am (UTC)
I love a sleepy Genesis! I really like the chapter! ^-^
Sep. 3rd, 2012 12:05 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Sleepy Genesis appears to be a hit. I am kind of in despair that this seems to be the big takeaway of the chapter. XD
Sep. 1st, 2012 03:31 am (UTC)
*howls with laughter*

>Not even remotely a morning person.

How did you /ever/ make it past cadet training, Genesis?

I can just imagine Sephiroth and Angeal (who are probably BOTH morning people) getting /quietly/ out of bedrolls and don't bother coming near Genesis until they can haul back a kettle of strong coffee.
Sep. 3rd, 2012 12:05 pm (UTC)
XD It's even more dangerous, because instead of alarm clocks he throws fire.
Sep. 4th, 2012 01:53 pm (UTC)
.... one or the other (Sephiroth or Genesis) would have to borrow the Turks' Steal materia, then.

Genesis can't hurl fire if he doesn't have the materia equipped! XD

EDIT: Also, completing the sleepy!Genesis = kitty!Genesis image ... why does the thought of a de-Materia'd!Genesis = declawed!Genesis comes to mind now? XDDD

Edited at 2012-09-04 01:57 pm (UTC)
Sep. 1st, 2012 06:25 am (UTC)
Hmm, it seems a little haphazard to jump to the conclusion that Cloud would mutilate three bodies and then call for clean-up, but then again the Turks are desperate and sleep-deprived most likely...I think the kids just tried to pick on the clone and got more than they bargained for. :/

(Couldn't Vincent and/or Red XIII vouch for Cloud's innocence? They could provide an alibi to help Genesis remain hidden...)

The cuddling is cute. <3 I like how much thought Cloud's putting into this before starting something with Genesis. Good work!
Sep. 3rd, 2012 12:16 pm (UTC)

Red XIII's back in Cosmo Canyon currently. Assuming Vincent himself didn't have anyone to contradict him about his presence, he could step up. But Cloud has already shot himself in the foot in terms of alibis, since he's already lied to Tifa about why he didn't come home and can't really change that without looking even more suspicious. All dealt with imminently, but I figured I'd lay that out here.
Sep. 1st, 2012 10:38 am (UTC)
I also think that it's far too quick for Reno to assume that Cloud was the one who killed them. But, what exactly did he hear on the phone that made him so angry towards Cloud? It's true that the trio did attack Cloud, but it could be just as true that they insulted the clone and got killed instead. If that's the only news he got that made him so murderous towards Cloud, I think I'd be severely angry at Reno in a "how-could-you" way. I definitely understand his frustration at Cloud's refusal to help them before but... but... it doesn't mean he'll start killing innocents without warning! Then again, Sephiroth had a 'I-need-to-be-left-alone' period which served as a warning before Nibelheim... And Cloud has been isolating himself besides being around Genesis who the Turks don't know is still alive... Gah, bad thoughts!

If the clone is the one who killed the trio, it makes me wonder why the clone would be there in the first place. Maybe he was curious about Cloud's hangout area, or was just stumbling through and the trio was just unlucky this time. Maybe the Turks will hear that there were clone sightings near the area and realize it's not Cloud? -hoping despite Murphy's law-

I can't help but worry for Cloud... What is he to do if not even his allies trust him? I'm worried that he'll start to feel as if the world's out to get him or that it betrayed him after all he did. And we all know where those thoughts lead and the destruction a single SOLDIER can cause... I hope that Genesis will be his voice of reason (why does this sound so terrifying).

Wait...! If he has to stay around the Turks the next few days, what will Genesis think?! That Cloud ran away after being pursued? Oh no! That's not good at all. Not to mention, he can't warn Genesis about it at all. We need Vincent! We need Nanaki! They need to come to the rescueeee.

I sometimes wonder why I never see your cliffhangers coming until they hit me straight in the face. It's like I'm subconsciously denying it until it actually happens, all the while enjoying those slash moments.

Thank you so much for posting this despite being so tired. Please do take care of yourself!
Sep. 3rd, 2012 12:20 pm (UTC)
All really interesting thoughts and analysis. :) You're savvy enough of a reader that I'm surprised you don't see the cliffhangers coming either! But I guess if they were totally expected they wouldn't be classified as cliffhangers in the first place then.

And don't worry! I cry tired but I don't run myself ragged for fanfic or anything. :) 'Sleepy' is really the better word. It's the internet equivalent of a 'hurty knee'.
Sep. 2nd, 2012 01:23 am (UTC)
I'm not sure what I can say aside from "squeeeeeee" for the first part of this, so I will only comment on the second half.

But where to even begin?

First of all, what on Gaia is Reno thinking? Why would he even suspect Cloud in the first place? Are they that worried that he'll go all Sephiroth on them? Is the clone even of Sephiroth? Perhaps it's a Cloud or even Genesis clone?

And where the hell is Vincent when you need him?
Sep. 3rd, 2012 12:21 pm (UTC)
All excellent questions! Forgive me as I decline to answer any of them, as hopefully the fic will do so to your satisfaction.
Oct. 20th, 2012 10:34 pm (UTC)
Woooo! \o/
Plot! I'm super excited!

Yeah, I guess the romance isn't really getting me fired up. Still ambivalent toward the pairing, but you're too awesome not to have a spectacular plot going simultaneously.

I'm dying to know what set Reno off! Rude's last line made me squee hard, too. It's just so... so Turk. XD
Oct. 21st, 2012 12:51 am (UTC)
Re: Woooo! \o/
I think that's really a failure on my part, actually. XD It's the reverse of the usual problem - the romance should be the point, but I can't resist the lures of plot (as opposed to plot being derailed by romance). But hey, if the plot alone can keep you entertained that's something. :)
Oct. 21st, 2012 04:24 am (UTC)
Re: Woooo! \o/
Nono! There's absolutely no need to feel responsible for my weirdness. I see all the elements in the story that would normally have me dying of the sexual tension. The confusion, the fumbling attempts at understanding what's going on inside the character's own head, the earnestness...

For me, pairings seem to either be I see it or I don't, and I can't figure out why it goes one way or the other.

But being the action-junkie I am, I'm more than entertained with plot! Especially such riveting plot that keeps me guessing!
Dec. 29th, 2012 08:50 am (UTC)
...Oh, no! D: Genesis will think that Cloud ditched him when he doesn't show up tomorrow!

...Oh, yeah, and also Cloud is in trouble with the Turks and might be in danger of being lynched or something, who cares. XP
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )

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