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Beloved, Chapter 22

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: Thank you once again for your patience!  RL is continuing to steamroll me but I'm hoping that since my primary mode of procrastination is fic that it will help me keep on top of things. As always, lots of thanks to Little House for the beta.    

Previous chapter


Beloved Chapter 22


There were, naturally, many problems with Cloud’s fledgling plans. 


It was understandable.  Plans were never his strong point – he didn’t understand people well enough to guess how they’d react.  Throw him at a field of monsters, or tell him to blow up something, or ask him to breed chocobos, and he had no problem figuring out the most efficient way to do it.  Throw people into the equation and he was clumsier than Barret


The Church waited, serene as always, nestled amidst the undulating sea of junk and scrap metal that made up this part of Midgar’s ruins.  The midday sun burned overhead, driving most of the vermin infesting the city back to their nooks and crannies in search of shade.  It was quiet, and there were no signs of activity in the vicinity. 


The sight was comforting.  The Chruch represented safety.  Refuge.  And the familiarity of the sight after nearly a month away felt an awful lot like coming home.


That was the only excuse Cloud could offer for his lapse of vigilance, as he made directly for the entrance instead of bothering to check the windows.  He wasn’t on top of his game, not after the past twenty-four hours, and the Church was a trusted place.


So when he caught sight of a pair of shadows stretching across the Church’s aisle, he wasn’t prepared at all.


“Get back!” Cloud yanked Genesis away from the door by the sleeve of his coat.


“What-?” Genesis hissed, before falling silent at the shuffle of footsteps.


“-You hear somethin’?”


Reno’s drawl was unmistakeable.  Rude murmured a reply that his ears couldn’t quite catch.  Reno scoffed and complained, “This is a damn boring waste of time, yo.  We’ve got better things to be doing than this crap.  Didn’t you hear about that shit that went down in Sector 2 yesterday?”


There was a pause, one far too long to make him comfortable, before Reno sighed.  Something scraped at the ground, the sound of shoes scuffing against wood.


Cloud held his breath.  Any movement, any sound, would surely give them away.  Had one of the Turks noticed?


“You know those idiots are gonna mess all the evidence up, yo.”  His voice wandered away, heading deeper into the church, the echoes half swallowing his words.


Safe, for now.  Cloud gestured at Genesis, and during Reno’s next rambling complaint, they stealthily retreated to a vantage point just out of sight.


That had been entirely too close for comfort.  It was mostly luck that neither Turk had been looking their way when they nearly entered the Church.  Luck, and sloppiness on the Turks’ part.  If they’d set up camp in one of the corners instead of standing in the sunlight, Cloud might not have noticed them until too late.


“Is the water under guard?” Genesis asked.


“It’s not the water they’re here for,” Cloud muttered.


It had been stupid of him to overlook it – the Turks and WRO weren’t high on his list of concerns, not with Sephiroth on the loose.  But of course they would stake out the Church.  It was a well-known refuge.


Cloud took a deep breath and thought for several moments.  Regardless of the new tension thrumming between him and Genesis, they needed to work together on this one.


“We have to get them out of there.  It’s me they’re looking for.  I’ll draw them off, and you can slip in and get the water.”


Strangely enough, his companion didn’t appear too happy about that plan.  “You’re going to play bait?  Those people tried to kill you, Cloud Strife.”


“Isn’t Weiss more important?” Cloud snapped.


Genesis looked taken aback for all of three seconds.  His usual aloof demeanour reasserted itself, and he remarked, “Forgive me for watching your back, then.”


Cloud rubbed his forehead and said, “It’s fine.  Really.  It’s two Turks.  I can handle them.”


“Two Turks that are apparently expecting you.”


A good point.  No doubt they’d brought along the big guns – he could expect explosives at the very least, and Cloud wouldn’t put it past Rude to be packing a rocket launcher. 


Worst of all, they would have phones.


“We’ll have to be quick.  Before they can call in more backup.”


“You really are determined,” Genesis huffed.  “Couldn’t we simply outwait them?  Surely they won’t be able to camp there forever.”


Cloud stared at him, somewhat incredulous that Genesis was advocating waiting.  “We can’t afford the time.  We don’t know how long we have until Sephiroth shows up again.  We have to be ready.”


“I could play bait instead.”


Was Genesis being difficult on purpose?  “They still don’t know you’re alive.  Let’s not blow that advantage.”  It would invalidate all of his efforts at keeping the former SOLDIER’s existence a secret so far – a secret kept at said SOLDIER’s insistence.


“I suppose, tactically, your plan makes sense,” Genesis finally begrudged.  “The rendezvous point?”


Back at the theatre would be too risky.  “Under the billboard in Sector 6.”


“Very well then.”  For a fleeting moment, Genesis’s gloves brushed his arm, as quick and light as a needlebird.  Then the SOLDIER was stealthily making his way across the wreckage, towards the rear of the church.  As stealthily as he could lugging a pair of buckets, anyway.


Cloud watched him go.  The urge struck to call him back, to clear the tense air that had settled between them with Weiss’s revelation.


The words stayed trapped in his throat.  Cloud turned away, and started walking towards the Church.


There would be time to sort out their issues later.


He counted out three minutes in his head, giving Genesis time to circle around and get into position.  Took a couple of deep breaths.  Checked his weapon and materia.


No point putting it off.


This time, he approached more cautiously.  He slowed his steps and lingered just outside of the entrance, Reno’s monologue carried by the Church’s echo.


"Reeve totally fucked it up, yo.  It was stupid to leave it to the WRO.  I told the boss-man it wasn't gonna work."


Rude made a perfectly neutral sound in his throat.


"I mean, what the hell?  They didn't even send anyone to stop the damn dog from running off to tattle?"


Rude sighed.  Cloud was familiar with the sound.  It was the same one he made whenever his partner had been chewing on the same topic for too long.


“And those WRO losers!  What the hell were they gonna do, yo?  Did nobody remember fucking Zack Fair taking on a whole damn platoon?  Idiots might as well go throw themselves over a cliff.  Can’t do anything right.”


Cloud refused to sit there and listen to Reno mouth off – especially if he were going to start bringing Zack into it.  Time to do this.


He slammed the church doors open.  They crashed against the walls with an echoing bang.


For all their slacking off, both Turks were battle-ready in a heartbeat.  Reno’s electro-rod crackled with electricity, mimicking the sound of Rude’s knuckles.


Cloud paused for just one moment, long enough for them to get their bearings.  Made a show of glancing at each of them, and then just as quickly slipped back outside.


“Fucker!  Come back here!”


The Turks took the bait.


Cloud ran from the Church.  Not too fast – he didn’t want to lose them.   


His ears caught a faint beep mid-step.  He barely had time to register it before the ground in front of him exploded, chunks of earth and plumes of fire bursting around him.  A dull whine rang in his ears.


Planted explosives.  They weren’t pulling their punches.


Cloud swung First Tsurugi, throwing extra power into the motion.  Energy sliced off the blade, clearing the way, an invisible shield of concussive force.


He emerged from the smoke, coughed once, then rolled to the side, the roar of a rocket burning his ears.  It crashed and blew up a pile of rubble instead, showering him with shrapnel and chunks of concrete.  He raised an arm to protect his face and leapt clear.  His feet hit the ground wrong, he stumbled, and brought up his sword just as Reno caught up with him.


The electro-rod snapped against the flat of his blade.  It clicked, and then suddenly extended, jolting towards his face.  Cloud twisted away, hopping back – just close enough to make Reno think he’d only barely missed.


“I didn’t think you’d be stupid enough to show your face here.”  Reno’s expression was contorted somewhere between a snarl and a manic grin.  “Did you honestly think we were just going to give up after only a couple of days?”


Cloud sidestepped a wild swing of the electro-rod, and struck once in retaliation.  Reno surprised him by bracing against it, catching First Tsurugi with both hands and a pained grunt.


“You’re outmatched,” Cloud said, pressing his weight down a little more – just enough to make the point.  When it came to raw strength, it wasn’t even a contest.


Even as Reno’s arms trembled from the strain though, his smirk didn’t waver.  “That’s what you think, bub.”  He pressed a button on the weapon’s grip.


The electro-rod lit up with a screech and a shower of sparks.  Lightning lashed along his sword and arms, blinding and burning.  Thunder materia.  Close to mastered.


He forced back the instinct to retreat, instead pushing forward against the spell to shove Reno away.  The Turk tumbled into a roll.  There was a rush of air behind him, and Cloud ducked and turned just in time to catch a steel-knuckled punch from Rude.  He let his momentum carry him, throwing the bigger Turk forward after his partner.  They crashed to the ground in a tangle of limbs and swear words.


Cloud shook his arms, chasing away the lingering burn and tingle from the lightning.  Clever to bolster the electro-rod’s power with materia.  It meant it didn’t even have to connect to shock.


Still not enough though.  Nothing close to a sword through his gut, or a bullet through his chest.


"You're a real freak, aren't you Cloud?" Reno sneered as they leapt back to their feet.  Going straight for the jugular, like he always did.  "Take a Thundara to the face and you don’t even blink.  Someone cuts the fucking brakes on your bike and you walk back with scratches."


Cloud paused, realisation settled over him like a blanket of freezing snow.  "That was you?"


“Damn right that was me!” 


He hadn’t bothered wondering who might have cut Fenrir’s brakes – the list of potential suspects was too long.  But somehow, deep inside, he hadn’t expected it to be someone he knew.


It left him chilled and strangely hollow.  He held no love for the Turks, no matter what uneasy truces they’d made in the past.  But this was someone who wandered into the bar at least once a week.  Someone who’d fought alongside him during Kadaj’s attack.


He knew they’d been wary, and that things hadn’t looked good on his end.  But there was a big difference between the Turks thinking the worst of him and them actively trying to kill him.


The sudden pause from Rude suggested Cloud wasn’t the only one surprised by that revelation.  “Reno.”


"Sorry Rude, but we owe her better than that.  I wasn't gonna just sit back and play nice like everyone else seemed so happy to.  The guy's fucking dangerous!"  Reno punctuated his words with another sweep of his arm and storm of lightning.  This time, Cloud caught the lashing energy on his blade, driving it harmlessly into the earth.  Thunder materia was easy to counter if you were expecting it. 


“I didn’t kill anyone,” Cloud said.  “You just leapt to conclusions.”


“You keep saying that, but don’t think I’m gonna fall for that shit,” Reno growled.  “We found the damn feathers, yo.  Where’s your wing, Cloud?”


Feathers?  Wing?


Odin.  In Edge.  Genesis had flown them out of there.


It was even worse than he thought.


“That wasn’t me.  You didn’t even think it might be the clo-”  He cut himself off to dodge another swipe of the electro-rod.


“Save it for someone who gives a shit!”


Reno wasn't rational right now.  It was obvious.  His fighting was downright sloppy, fuelled by rage and resentment.  Cloud would be wasting his time trying to talk to them.


Over their shoulders, he caught a glimpse of a distant red figure slipping into the Church.  It was going to plan, then – he just had to keep the Turks busy a little longer, and then clear out before the inevitable backup arrived.


Reno and Rude rushed him in tandem.  Cloud forced Reno back with a swipe of his sword, and his foot landed square in Rude’s gut.  They stumbled back, struggling to keep their feet.  They were so slow it wasn’t even an effort.


"The Turks have really fallen far," Cloud commented.


"Shut the hell up!" Reno snarled, and swung his electro-rod like a club.


He'd said it to goad them, to keep their attention forward, but he meant it.  Reno was a disaster and Rude was too distracted covering for him to be effective on his own merits – Yuffie alone could have taken them on in this state.  The Turks of two years ago had kept cool heads, even when Rufus had been on his deathbed and Tseng and Elena presumed the same.  


Maybe it was their increasing irrelevance.  Maybe it was guilt finally catching up to them, from Sector 7 and ShinRa's failures and Kadaj and even DeepGround.  


Maybe this was simply the straw that had broken the chocobo's back.


The electro-rod clattered against First Tsurugi, hissing and sputtering sparks.  Cloud spun the blade, very nearly knocking it out of Reno’s hands.  As he staggered back, Rude pulled the pin on a grenade and lobbed it at him, but Cloud was faster, batting it clear with the flat of his sword.  It burst over their heads with a blast of fire and a deafening bang.


Reno wiped at his mouth with the back of his hand, smearing blood across his cheek.  Cloud hadn’t hit his face, so he must have bit his tongue at some point.  “You SOLDIER freaks all turn out the same, every fucking time,” he spat.  “You’re nothing but a time bomb.”


“Funny,” Cloud retorted.  “I could say the same about ShinRa.”  He backed away, checking his escape routes.  Genesis would have the water by now, surely.  If he made a break for it, they’d be too busy chasing him to notice anyone leaving the Church.  And in Midgar’s terrain, he could lose them any time he wanted.


Reno noticed, of course.  “Don’t you even fucking think about running away, you coward!”  He lunged at him, the whine of the electro-rod powering up piercing to his ears.  Cloud half-raised First Tsurugi, preparing to catch the lightning on his blade-


Then, without any warning, the Church exploded into a searing ball of fire.

Next chapter


( 45 comments — Leave a comment )
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<<[1] [2] >>
Dec. 1st, 2012 06:32 am (UTC)
.................THE CHURCH NO.
Dec. 1st, 2012 01:21 pm (UTC)
...It says a lot about FF7 that we have become very attached to a building.
Dec. 1st, 2012 06:40 am (UTC)

is it bad I am wholly impatient for the time Cloud and Gen get to sort out their issues? xD /shameless dorkfish

Also oh crap, I hope to whatever deity is listening that Gen's okay. Or at least the one who started it so there's less of a chance of him being injured in thsi shit. granted, no matter who started it, they're gonna receive hell from Aerith, lololol //already imagining the punishments and cackling

...why is my next thought Gen not getting enough of the water and them needing more but unable to get it because the Church is now gone? DDDDDDDD: GODDAMMIT BRAIN, Y U DO THIS?

But damn, there's some serious shit a-brewin' and goddamn, I need this next chapter now aklsjfhkljhdsflkhdsk
Dec. 1st, 2012 01:20 pm (UTC)
...It makes it a double cliffhanger? :D I actually feel a little bit guilty about that one because I used to rage at Code Geass for this particular move.

LOL, not really, it is supposed to be a slash fic after all... but plot got in the way. I got too used to writing gen!

Sorry! I wish I could deliver it to you faster but it's just not feasible without a massive quality cut! :(
(no subject) - caterfree10 - Dec. 2nd, 2012 12:42 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sinnatious - Dec. 2nd, 2012 07:33 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - caterfree10 - Dec. 2nd, 2012 11:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 1st, 2012 03:34 pm (UTC)
Strangely enough, his companion didn’t appear too happy about that plan. “You’re going to play bait? Those people tried to kill you, Cloud Strife.”

“Isn’t Weiss more important?” Cloud snapped.


Cloudy.. You're cute. xD

Weiss is only his brother and you know it, aren't you?
Dec. 2nd, 2012 07:34 am (UTC)
Dec. 1st, 2012 05:38 pm (UTC)
The church? You killed Elena AND the church?

I was very disappointed in Reno cutting Fenrir's brakes until I was reminded that he believed Cloud killed Elena, and is an emotional wreck.

Favorite line: As stealthily as he could lugging pair of buckets, anyway.
Dec. 2nd, 2012 07:35 am (UTC)
Heh, the indignity of a SOLDIER carrying buckets. And whoops, you highlighted a word I missed too with that, which I have now fixed, thank you~
(no subject) - lenine2 - Dec. 2nd, 2012 07:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 1st, 2012 07:39 pm (UTC)
All the feels. Seriously.
Dec. 2nd, 2012 07:35 am (UTC)
Dec. 2nd, 2012 12:44 am (UTC)
O_O OMGAerith'sdefinitelynotgonnabehappy.

Genesis no >.> Please don't tell me you did that...

x) Is that jealousy I'm sniffing here, Cloudy? Aww you poor lil boy <3

Dec. 2nd, 2012 07:36 am (UTC)
Comes back from the dead simply to rage at people destroying her flowers. XD The secret to Aeris's resurrection was right in front of us all along.
Dec. 2nd, 2012 01:33 am (UTC)
Ohhhh man, I am torn between whether or not Genesis torched the church to run static for Cloud, or whether it was Sephiroth again or - or -

I don't really think Genesis would do it off-hand, as I think he's aware of the meaning of the place, and that it's also where the Buster Sword is so... There is a number of possibilities, but yeah, if it was Genesis he would have had a very good reason, or if it was Seph it'd be to further undermine Cloud (so ultimately he could take Cloud as his new host?)

And augh, Reno, I understand how upset you are, but cutting the breaks on his bike? Seriously uncool, but it wasn't surprising as you've portrayed his emotional breakdown and reaction to the situation well. It was a logical progression of his actions.

Always love the dynamics of your fights, especially against opponents like the Turks, where they have traps and all sorts of varied weapons to use against Cloud, even if it's ultimately futile.

"what went down in Sector 2 yesterday..."

Wonder what that was all about...

Awesome chapter, already wishing it was two weeks from now!
Dec. 2nd, 2012 07:39 am (UTC)
Your lines of thought are good ones!

Thanks! It's actually in many ways more fun to write fights against different opponents like the Turks! Different weapons lets you change things up a bit, I admit I've been struggling to find ways to keep the standard SOLDIER sword fights interesting for a while now...

Ah, as for the Sector 2 comment, you might not recall but Reno was referring to the three way summons fight Cloud and Genesis and Sephiroth held the day before. That's the problem with these protracted delays between updates, it's easy to forget details like that!
(no subject) - zerrat - Dec. 2nd, 2012 08:05 am (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 2nd, 2012 04:01 pm (UTC)
I've never written a review before but I just had to in this case.
You are doing a great job and you single handed ly turned me in to a Cloud/Genesis fan.
And the line about the bucket?Genius
Dec. 3rd, 2012 09:44 am (UTC)
Extra special thanks then! And welcome to the world of horribly rare ships!
Dec. 2nd, 2012 08:19 pm (UTC)
Couple of things:
1) I have to stalk you more often, can't believe I missed a whole new fic and binge-read in two days (and right before rehearsals; smart move, there...)
2) omggenesis! omgsephiroth! omgweiss!? OMGSUMMONS!! I love how you handle the materia system (and I WAS planning on something similar). Wonder how the Command, Support and Independent would work, but best not complicate things further :P
3) I actually tought of something very similar to Reno's little trick with his stun rod with a Mage: The Ascencion character (Force magic to magnify the electric discharge and Prime magic to channel quintessence through it).
4) Is the water still alright? The Buster Sword? THE FLOWERS!? damn, really hope Aerith wasn't watching that or Holy will start raining from the skies...
Dec. 3rd, 2012 09:53 am (UTC)
1)Heh, at least it saved you a lot of time waiting for updates?

2)Sorry if I stole your thunder with the materia ideas! Materia gets the spotlight in fics sometimes, but not nearly enough in my opinion. And it's such a big part of the FF7 world!


4)This is how the Planet ends: Someone stepped on Aeris's flowers. There's a crackfic to be had in that.
Dec. 2nd, 2012 08:48 pm (UTC)

Aksjhrjjeiwndakifhfiekne I was too lazy to log in for the past 21 chapters to update no matter how bad the cliffhanger but but but this this the church the church *sobbbb*
Dec. 3rd, 2012 09:55 am (UTC)
LOL, I find it amazing that this is the cliffhanger to prompt you to log in. XD (But thank you for doing so!)
Dec. 3rd, 2012 04:51 am (UTC)
D: OHNOES The Church! And poor Cloud! If he loses that one piece left that is so important to him! Sin! Why did you do that?! I really need to take Cloud away from you! You just keep torturing him! And the sword! That's like a double whammy! T_T

And Reno! I thought it was the weak, freshly made Sephiroth who cut them, hoping to make Cloud weaker so he could body hop or something. I will have no lost love for the turks if you kill them off. I mean, sure, they were funny as hell to watch in AC, but I don't like them that much.

And I knew you were going to do something involving Genesis when you had Cloud wishing he'd held him back to clear the air. But, since Genesis is the whole materia master, and fire is what he seems to prefer the most, I'm not that worried about him. Sin, I shouldn't be worried about him, should I? T_T

...and for some reason I got the image of Cloud having a people breeding farm set up somehow. :/

Fight scene, I absolutely adored it as usual! So many elements added to it to keep it interesting! (and I have overused my quota of exclamation points for this review >.>)

Can't wait for the next chapter~ (especially to make sure that I was right in not worrying about Genesis)

ETA: and ever since the last chapter, I've just had this imagine in my head of Cloud going up to Sephiroth w/ the bucket of special water and throwing it, and it landing at Sephiroth's feet and them just sitting there staring at each other before Cloud hightails it out of there to try again later. I can't get this out of my head now and it's completely your fault! T_T

Edited at 2012-12-03 05:12 am (UTC)
Dec. 3rd, 2012 10:02 am (UTC)
In my defence, Square has done far worse to Cloud in canon than anything I've done in a fic! We really should be taking Cloud away from Square. ;)

Ah, you have become wise to my brand of foreshadowing. I will have to try harder in the future!

Also - people breeding farm. That... that sort of hit me out of left field. XD I have this weird, uncomfortable feeling that I've read an FF7 kinkmeme prompt like this in the past.

And thank you! It is an ongoing challenge to keep fight scenes fresh, since this fic seems to have more than the average.

XD Oh god, now this image is in my head too. If this goes and derails my plot we will be having words.

Edited at 2012-12-03 10:02 am (UTC)
(no subject) - swyrel - Dec. 4th, 2012 12:13 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sinnatious - Dec. 4th, 2012 10:15 am (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 3rd, 2012 03:42 pm (UTC)
No! Not the Church! Like the chapter. ^-^
Dec. 4th, 2012 10:16 am (UTC)
Dec. 3rd, 2012 09:21 pm (UTC)
Sin! How could you blow up the church! Its.. its.. its the church! I absolutely love your fight scenes, they are so descriptive and believable. And of course the bucket line had me laughing in fits.

That crack fic about Aeris destroying the world beacuse they blew up her church and killed the flowers, you need to write that Sin.
Dec. 4th, 2012 10:17 am (UTC)
Heh heh, maybe if someone prompts it for Christmas. <3
Dec. 4th, 2012 12:00 am (UTC)
Here I am writing my own Gen/Cloud fics because I don't think anyone else is currently trying and here I find this little gem hidden away. :) Love this story and love your writing style and I'm so glad I stumbled off FF.Net to find it.
Dec. 4th, 2012 12:08 am (UTC)
Re: Story
You should read her story Fifth Act too, if you haven't already! It's not Genesis/Cloud per se, as it's gen fic, but there are some hints and Obsessive-over-Cloud!Genesis. It's what started most of us on the pairing!
Re: Story - ladyazurith - Dec. 4th, 2012 12:13 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Story - sinnatious - Dec. 4th, 2012 10:21 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Story - ladyazurith - Dec. 4th, 2012 12:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 5th, 2012 04:15 am (UTC)
Forgive me for not commenting for so long, but I just found it so amusing how everyone (including me) worried about the church first rather than what happened to Genesis. xD

I expected the Turks to be the one to destroy Cloud's brakes (how many people are tech savvy enough to figure out where things are in Fenrir?) but... Reno... how could you?!

I find it horribly ironic how his actions could have possibly led Cloud into becoming another Sephiroth (literally or not), and yet he can't see it himself. I think I felt my heart breaking when Cloud noticed himself how much the Turks have fallen.

Genesis carrying around buckets. My life is complete.

"Maybe this was simply the straw that had broken the chocobo's back."
As always, I love your adaptions of idioms.
Dec. 8th, 2012 06:17 am (UTC)
PRIORITIES, right? XD I guess you all have faith in his badassery.

Indeed, a bit dumb of the Turks! Even now they never fully understood what sent Sephiroth over the edge.

Thanks! I sometimes worry that I overuse cliches and idioms, but adapting them is so much fun...

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