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Hidden in Icy Heights

Chapter Text

Cloud kept his body low, his fingers lightly grazing the ground. The blood trail was unmistakable against brilliant, white snow. Thick crimson dotted a clear path up a nearby slope, and a telling smear advised the young hunter that his prey had stumbled as it pushed up the icy bank.

It had been nearly half a day since Cloud had struck the great mountain cat with a bolt from his trusty bow. The creature was badly wounded. It’s blood trail was thick, but somehow, it had kept moving. Cloud had expected to find the creature’s dead body for hours, but he was still following its trail higher and higher up the mountain.

The air was chilled and dotted with snow. It was already too late in the season to be on Nibel Mountain, but Cloud had needed the extra kills. His meager trappings wouldn’t earn enough to keep him fed and housed through the winter. The Nibel lion had been an enormous boon. It’s enormous, spotted pelt would earn far more than anything else Cloud had packed away. Every inch of it was a gold mine. It’s teeth, bones, claws… Everything would earn something as long as he could find the beast.

Cloud shuddered. The sun was already making its way on a downward path. He wouldn’t have enough daylight to make it back down the mountain, but he felt sure he had the supplies to camp safely after he found his catch.

He could see his breath, and the clouds had condensed and darkened overhead. It was a bad sign. A snow storm on Nibel Mountain could rage for weeks, but it was still a little too early for such fearsome weather. Still, even a few hours of hard snow could spell trouble for Cloud’s journey home. The elevation was already making life difficult. The air was thinner, and frost had formed on every piece of Cloud’s gear and hair. Even his thick climbing gear couldn’t keep the chill out of his clothes.

He had to be getting close. He certainly couldn’t stop now. The Nibel lion had left almost as much blood in the snow as it had in his body. The corpse couldn’t be far. Shouldering his bow once again, Cloud pressed onward.

He tracked the creature’s path for another hour before he finally came to a rise and a clearing. Tremendous relief filled him as he caught site of the cat’s body. The beast lay where it had fallen from a tree. Cloud’s bold had struck true, and still protruded from the creature’s shoulder. Cloud must have just missed its heart. It was either a miracle or a testament to the creature’s power that it had managed to move so far with such a severe wound.

Cloud withdrew his bow and struck the creature again from a distance, just to make sure it was truly dead. The beast didn’t move, and, while Cloud was sad to have marred the pelt further, he was glad he took the precaution.

He made his way down to the creature, and marveled at his kill. He’d never accomplished such an extraordinary hunt. He’d taken up tracking years before to support himself after his mother’s death, but he rarely did more than run a few trap lines. This year, he’d taken more risk, but the reward would be great.

Cloud couldn’t deny himself the small smile of victory. He had been struggling, and this was finally a step in the right direction. Perhaps he’d finally be able to put down some real roots.

Almost as soon as Cloud began to feel safe, the temperature dropped rapidly. Cloud tensed, and looked around, shocked and awed as the world turned white. It was eery the way the scenery disappeared around him in a flurry of white. Cloud wondered how anyone could see in such a blizzard. His kill was going to have to wait, if it even survived the weather. Cloud pulled his coat closer to his body and tried to remember where the nearest cover was.

It was horrible luck to be caught in the open just a storm began. Cloud fought down his own panic and began walking slowly in the direction he thought he’d seen trees earlier. He hoped, desperately, that he would reach cover before dark.

He must have had his bearings wrong, because Cloud found no trees. He’d walked for nearly an hour before he lost his footing and found himself tumbling down a steep slope. When he landed, he was out of breath, but, thankfully, nothing was broken. Even his bow seemed relatively undamaged, despite the rolling.

Cloud stood slowly and tried to find his bearings once more, but there was nothing to find. Cloud began to walk along the slope, hoping he’d find some sheltered corner against the hillside.

He thought he could see a rocky outcropping ahead. It was hard to make out the full shape through the snow, but he felt hopeful. As he began to get close, that hope grew and sharpened Cloud’s determination. Some of his panic slipped away now that shelter was in sight.

Then the cliff began to move.

Cloud’s entire body stilled with sudden panic. It wasn’t a cliff at all, but a great beast - far greater than the Nibel lion he’d taken down earlier. It was the biggest creature Cloud had ever seen - bigger than he’d ever known existed.

It lumbered closer. In a great rush of air, it lifted a giant wing and cut off the gust of snowy wind that had been blocking Cloud’s view. It was a Nibel dragon. For as long as Cloud had been alive, none had been seen. Most of the young people in their village believed they’d been nothing but myth, but the elders had spoken of the great, spined dragons that lurked in the snow.

Large eyes were focused on Cloud. They were enormous and cat-like. Brilliant blues and greens wove through irises that were split through the center with great, black pupils. It’s body shimmered with elegant silvery scales and spines. Beautiful and deadly.

Cloud was staring down a living legend.

For a moment, all was calm, then Cloud reached for his bow. The dragon revealed great, white fangs, and Cloud turned to run. He ran as fast as he could through the snow, back through his previous footprints. He only slid to a stop when he heard the beast close behind him.

He turned and knocked an arrow in a moment. He send it flying toward the dragon’s shoulder, hoping to distract it. He didn’t wait to see if his arrow landed. Cloud turned and ran again for the slope.

He fell just in time for a great burst of flame to fly over his head. Cloud slid through the snow. His head hit hard on a nearby rock, and his world went black.

 

__________________________________________________________________

 

When Cloud woke, there was a terrible throbbing at the back of his skull. His eyes refused to adjust, his muscles ached, but he was finally warm again. He shifted just a bit, and several thick layers of fur shifted with him. He was laying in some kind of improvised bed. The furs were thick, but his bedding lacked any sheets or blankets. With some alarm, Cloud noted he was also naked.

Who had found him on the mountain? Why hadn’t the dragon killed him?

Cloud brought a hand to his head and closed his eyes. He tried to think. Perhaps it wasn’t odd that he was naked. If he’d been on the mountain for any amount of time, he would have started freezing to death. Anyone with experience in the high mountains would have known to strip him and encourage his body to heat up gradually to preserve his limbs.

First, he needed to figure out where he was. Everything else could follow.

The blond sat up very slowly. He felt a short wave of dizziness, but, other than that, there was only slight aching in his limbs. He wasn’t injured. Cloud allowed himself a minute to compose himself before he looked around slowly. The room wasn’t really a room. The walls were carved stone, and there was no light outside of the soft glow coming from an improvised fire pit. This was surely a cave of some kind, but it had been modified into a cozy, little home. It was warm, secluded, and presumably safe.

“You’re awake,” A deep voice murmured from nearby.

Cloud forced his eyes to refocus on the fire pit. There was a man bent next to the flames, tending a pot of food - presumably stew. Cloud felt a sudden pang of hunger. How long had it been since he’d eaten?

Cloud blinked a few times, and his eyes finally seemed to adjust. The man’s features swam into focus, and they were… Unusual. His hair was so long that it brushed the floor. It looked white or silver, and it took an unusual shine in the low light of the fire.

This man was naked too. His body was heavily muscled and toned. Certainly, Cloud had never seen anyone with such a body in his own village. The stranger’s shoulders were broad, but he narrowed at his middle. It would have been elegant if he’d worn any clothes. Instead, it looked obscene, drawing his eyes downward. The blond averted his eyes and bit his lip. He was incredibly uncomfortable.

“I’m awake,” Cloud agreed. He pulled the furs a bit closer and tried to avoid eye contact.

“You’re hungry.” It wasn’t a question. The man turned with a bowl in one hand.

“Where am I?” Cloud questioned.

The man approached, sitting at the edge of the bed of furs before offering the bowl to Cloud. Cloud carefully took the meal from the man’s hands. There were no utensils, but Cloud wasn’t too proud to slurp something directly from the bowl at this point. Now that it was under his nose, Cloud could smell that it was a hardy stew of course. Perhaps it was a little watery, but classic thickening agents weren’t common in the mountains.

“You are not far from where you fell,” The man answered.

Cloud glanced up and froze as his eyes caught the stranger’s again. His eyes were an unusual, brilliant blue-green. A familiar shade, but the slit pupil through their center was far more telling. Cloud felt a thrill of cold spread through his lower stomach.

“Who are you?” Cloud forced himself to ask.

“You should be able to guess. You were wandering in my territory,” The man answered. His lips quirked and Cloud caught of glimpse of the sharp fangs behind his lips.

“That’s impossible,” Cloud whispered. His grip on the bowl began to shake. The man, or monster, reached out to steady Cloud’s hands. Even the light touch told Cloud that there was tremendous strength in this man’s fingers.

“Nibel dragons aren’t even real… How…? Did you drug me?” Cloud swallowed hard, looking down at the food in front of him. “What do you want? And… Why am I alive?”

“Eat this first. You’ll want your strength, and you should not turn away my hospitality,” The man ordered. Slit pupils flashed as the man watched Cloud closely. Pale fingers rose to touch Cloud’s cheek. “I will explain after.”

Cloud took in a long breath through his nose. He bit his lip, thinking hard, but then nodded and brought the bowl to his lips. It was some relief when the stranger backed away so that Cloud could finish his meal. The blond ate quickly, continuing to watch for any bad behavior from the supposed dragon. Once the bowl was empty, Cloud set it aside and waited.

They sat in an uncomfortable silence for some time before the man spoke. “Winter has already fallen here. It will be impossible for you to make your way down the mountain. You certainly could never survive up here on your own.”

Cloud felt even colder - despite the heaps of furs. If that were true, and winter had fallen early… Then his death was inevitable. He wasn’t an idiot. He’d already been hunting for too long on the lower slopes. He might have frozen to death in his original camp if winter had fallen so suddenly. At the current altitude, he had no chance of survival.

“I can offer you a deal…” The dragon almost crooned. He leaned over the bed, his silver hair falling around him. Cloud leaned further back to get away from the creature.

“What is your name?” Cloud asked. The beast smirked, and Cloud got another peek at sharpened fangs.

“You may call me Sephiroth.”

Cloud wrinkled his nose. “That’s an odd name.”

“Among dragons, it’s a perfectly normal,” Sephiroth argued. He leaned forward, then dipped down and lay next to Cloud instead of leaning over him. “What do they call you?”

“Cloud.”

The beast made a bit of a humming noise. “It’s suits you. Light hair with eyes like the sky.”

Cloud shifted uncomfortably. He preferred to be clothed when someone commented on his looks. He swallowed, eyes searching the dragon’s face. It was becoming easier to believe that he wasn’t human. Sephiroth’s features were a bit too sharp and a bit too perfect to be human. Cloud had never seen a human with silver hair either, but it was the eyes that were a dead give away. The color in them almost seemed living. The blue and green of them seemed to shift as the pupils moved. It was beautiful and eery.

Sephiroth seemed to be studying Cloud’s eyes with equal fascination. They both continued to stare with quiet intensity, until Cloud finally asked the essential question.

“What deal can you offer me?”

“You wont like it,” Sephiroth insisted. “But, if you agree, I will guarantee your safety and provide care through the winter. You’ll be free to go on your way once the weather breaks.”

Cloud already didn’t like the sound of it. Wasn’t there any way for the dragon to get him down the mountain now? He couldn’t imaging spending an entire season in a mountain cave. Winters ran long in the mountains. He might be trapped for four months or more before he could find his way home.

Sephiroth took a deep breath.

“There are things you’ll need to know about dragons before you can agree… First, we are all of one gender. There is no separation of females and males for dragons,” Sephiroth explained. Cloud looked a bit confused, but did not comment, so Sephiroth continued. “We require a host to breed.”

Cloud stiffened noticeably. He did not like where this was going.

“Our eggs draw from the host like materia draws from the earth,” Sephiroth explained. “A worthy host is essential to strong children.”

Cloud’s mind was racing. Surely this wasn’t possible? He was a man. He couldn’t just… Wouldn’t it be dangerous? He wondered for a moment if he even had a choice. What would Sephiroth do to him if he refused.

“H-How is it done? W-What are you asking of me?” Cloud managed to ask. He hated himself for the way his voice wavered, but he was afraid. No one had ever touched him intimately before. He didn’t want it. He definitely didn’t want to go through what seemed to be a pregnancy.

“I would implant my eggs inside you. They start quite small. You’ll barely notice them at first. Over the winter, they’ll grow in size - drawing from your strength. When the winter breaks, you’ll birth them here, in a nest I will prepare for them,” Sephiroth explained, as though it were a simple thing. “After that, you’ll be free to leave.”

“Wont it… It sounds dangerous.” Cloud’s expression had darkened. It sounded painful and humiliating, but no one in his village would ever know. That was a small comfort to the young hunter.

“I wont allow you to be harmed,” Sephiroth promised. “The pregnancy itself should not be dangerous to you, as long as I keep you well fed and cared for. The birthing process should be easier than the average human birth. The eggs will still be small when you pass them.”

Everything went quiet again. Cloud’s mouth had gone dry and his head hurt again. He didn’t know what to do.

“What will you do if I say ‘no?’” Cloud questioned.

“I’ll return your gear, wrap you in a fur, and put you outside. You’ll surely freeze to death, but you can do it on your own terms,” Sephiroth offered.

Cloud was beginning to understand that he didn’t really have an option. It was near certain death or spend the winter with a dragon that wanted to essentially breed him.

“How long would you give me to prepare before…?” Cloud trailed off. He didn’t know how to explain what Sephiroth wanted to do to him. He was already red in the face just thinking about it. “I-I mean… I need time. I-I’ve never….” Cloud’s throat constricted. How the fuck was he supposed to explain to a dragon that he was a virgin and needed time to resign himself to a loveless first time?

“It will be very similar to human sex. I promise you. Maybe a bit longer, because it will take some time to plant my eggs,” Sephiroth explained. Cloud could almost appreciate that the dragon was trying to comfort him.

Cloud’s fingers twisted in the furs. He bit his lip hard. He’d never been so thoroughly humiliated in his entire life.

The dragon seemed to pause a moment. Brilliant eyes examined the human’s reaction closely, as though it were some foreign thing he needed to interpret. “You’ve never mated before?” Sephiroth finally guessed.

Even Cloud’s ears were red as he heard the words. He lowered his head to hide his embarrassment, but the dragon saw it clearly. The news seemed to please the great beast, because Cloud began to hear a low rumbling purr in its throat.

“I can give you a few days to adjust,” Sephiroth promised. “You can ask me all the questions you want. Lay next to me, become familiar with my body and scent.” Sephiroth leaned forward just a bit, noticeably inhaling as he took in Cloud’s scent. “I will make it as painless as I can.”

Cloud fidgeted nervously. “Why does it have to be me? Wouldn’t another host be better?”

Sephiroth’s eyes stared intensely into Cloud’s. “The reason I pulled you from the snow, is because you’re the perfect host. I could feel it immediately… And I would be very sad to send you away now.”

The dragon reached out and brushed a bit of hair from Cloud’s face. “I’m sorry this frightens you, but I cannot offer you better. What will you do?”

Cloud turned his face away from Sephiroth. He wished he wasn’t so obviously afraid. It was unfitting for a hunter to show so much emotion. Cloud was supposed to be as strong and unmoving as the mountain, but he’d never been very good at it. He could be quiet, often his face was emotionless, but he felt too much too deeply to seem as stoic as the better respected hunters were.

Cloud wondered briefly if his life was worth sacrificing his pride to the dragon. There was no one at home who would miss him, except perhaps Tifa, and they had never been very close. Was his life really such a great loss. Cloud’s fingers clenched and unclenched a few times. It was a ridiculous line of thought. He wanted to live. Even if no one wanted him, there was so much that Cloud still wanted to experience.

Sephiroth never interrupted his thoughts or pressed. Nearly an hour must have passed before Cloud answered.

“I’ll do it.”

Chapter Text

Cloud had been with Sephiroth for a few days, and all had been quiet. Sephiroth hadn’t pushed him to do anything, and rarely spoke unless Cloud spoke first. The den was always pleasantly warm, and, now, it was well lit. Sephiroth had dug candles out of storage during Cloud’s first day, and Cloud was free to light them as he wished.

The dragon still made him nervous. The evening before, Cloud had gone to the door of the cave and pushed aside the thick leather door flap to examine the weather as Sephiroth was leaving. He’d needed to see the great storms for himself and know that he couldn’t make it down the mountain. The severity of the storm had been undeniable, but it was watching Sephiroth’s small, human form spread into that of a great dragon that had shocked Cloud to his core.

There was no denying his situation now that he’d seen the transformation with his own eyes. He lived with a dragon, and his life depended on the great beast.

Fortunately, Sephiroth spent very little time in the cave. The dragon came once a day with roasted meats, root vegetables, and berries. Then he would leave again and rarely returned before nightfall.

Cloud wondered if it were always that way, or if Sephiroth was trying to give him some space. Whatever the case, Sephiroth never allowed Cloud the same courtesy at night. When the silver dragon returned in the evening, he came to the bed and quickly tucked his larger body against Cloud’s. The man never wore clothes. While Sephiroth did allow Cloud to wear clothes to bed, Cloud could still feel a great deal of Sephiroth’s skin.

Sephiroth seemed to appreciate physical contact. At night, Sephiroth always ended up with his arms wrapped around Cloud’s middle with his nose buried in the human’s hair. Pale fingers often drifted under Cloud’s clothes while the slept. The dragon also liked to get as close to Cloud as possible when they spoke. Often, Sephiroth attempted to brush his fingers against Cloud’s hands or arms when he brought food, and he was visibly displeased whenever Cloud
pulled away.

At first, Cloud had found it impossible to sleep, but, gradually, he got used to it. He was too exhausted to avoid sleep for long, and Sephiroth, while frightening, was always careful not to hurt him. Gradually, Cloud was beginning to trust the dragon’s promise. If he fulfilled his end of the bargain and helped the dragon start his family, Cloud believed he would see home again.

He was still terrified to start the process.

Cloud tried not to think about it, but there wasn’t much else to do. While Sephiroth hadn’t restricted Cloud’s explorations in any way, there simply wasn’t much to do in Sephiroth’s cavern. The first few days had told Cloud that the cavern was much more expansive than he realized. The area where he slept was only a sub section of a much larger cave - big enough to hold even Sephiroth’s dragon form.

At first, Cloud had wanted to explore every inch of the place, but he quickly found that it was far too large, far too cold, and far too dark to explore on his own. Only Cloud’s bedroom area with the fire pit remained habitable.

As a result, Cloud was painfully bored. He couldn’t find anything else to do. He knew that he was going to have to ask Sephiroth for something. Cloud sighed and paced the length of the cavern. It wouldn’t be long before Sephiroth was home for the evening. Cloud would ask then. Maybe if he could find something to do with his hands, he’d feel less anxious about what was coming.

The sound of Sephiroth entering his space startled Cloud. He turned around quickly and looked Sephiroth over. The dragon was home early - if Cloud was correct about the time. It was getting harder to keep track, but Cloud was almost sure.

Sephiroth didn’t look at Cloud very long before he moved to sit by the fire. Cloud swallowed his nervousness and moved to carefully sit next to him. When he glanced upward, Sephiroth’s lips were quirked in the barest hint of a smile. Perhaps he liked it when Cloud approached him on his own.

They sat in silence for a while. Sephiroth added a few pieces of wood to the fire, and Cloud reached out to warm his hands on the newly stoked flames. It was a strangely comfortable silence this time. Cloud loathed to break it, but he had to ask.

“Sephiroth... Is there anything you need help with? Anything I can do around here during the day?” Cloud wasn’t looking at the dragon, but, if had been, he would have seen the hint of a smile spread into something wider and far more devious.

“If you’re comfortable enough to ask for tasks, then you should be more than ready to accept my eggs,” Sephiroth mused.

Cloud’s head snapped up at those words. He felt a brief flash of panic but fought it down. Sephiroth seemed to be waiting for Cloud to say something, so he took a few extra moments to compose himself before he answered.

“I-I’ll admit that you’ve been... More patient than I expected,” Cloud trailed off, looking around them. He was so nervous. What was he supposed to do?

“I will be very gentle, Cloud,” Sephiroth promised as he got to his feet.

Cloud flinched, but Sephiroth didn’t advance on him. Instead, he turned and walked to the nearby storage space. Cloud watched after him, and soon the dragon returned with an iron kettle and a small, wooden box.

He filled the kettle with a nearby water basin. He set the box nearby and carefully opened its small clasp. Inside, were several rows of dried leaves. Tea leaves, Cloud realized. The human watched, fascinated, as Sephiroth prepared the leaves. His hands moved with practiced ease, and soon he was setting the iron kettle into the fire.

Watching Sephiroth interact with the pit in any capacity was fascinating to Cloud. The dragon did not fear burning his hands, so he could reach in and adjust anything as he wished.

Sephiroth sat quietly next to Cloud again while the tea steeped. Cloud felt like he should say something, but he didn’t. He was far too nervous to form any proper conversation anyway. They sat like that until the kettle’s neck began to release a noticeable line of steam, then Sephiroth pulled it off and poured two generous cups.

He passed one to Cloud, who took the cup without question. The tea was still too hot to drink, but the cup was pleasantly warm in his hands. He sat quietly, watching as Sephiroth easily sipped at the pipping hot liquid.

“What kind of tea is it?” Cloud finally asked.

“It’s a herbal mix that is supposed to calm the nerves. I had hoped you might be less frightened,” Sephiroth answered.

Cloud finally began sipping at his own tea. It was far less bitter than Cloud was expecting, and he was beginning to feel a bit better. Still, the young human continued to stare into the fire pit. He felt a bit guilty for being so afraid of Sephiroth. It was clear that the dragon was offended by Cloud’s constant vigilance.

The silence continued until Cloud had finished his tea.

“Would you like another cup?” Sephiroth questioned. The green of Sephiroth’s eyes seemed brighter as he watched Cloud. The dragon was clearly expecting something - looking for some kind of queue, and Cloud knew exactly what he was hoping for.

Cloud gathered his courage and set his cup aside. “No... I’m ready.” His fingers still shook with nerves, but he’d prepared himself as well as he was going to.

Sephiroth approached him slowly, as though to give Cloud time to pull away, but Cloud held perfectly still. He even lifted a shaky hand to touch Sephiroth’s neck as the dragon brought their lips together. The first brush of lips was perfectly chaste and gentle. Cloud released a soft sigh of relief as Sephiroth moved in for another slow brush of lips. Somehow, he’d expected the dragon to be rougher.

Gradually, Sephiroth’s kiss became deeper. A clever tongue swept gently against Cloud’s lower lip, and the hunter took the queue to part them. A moment later, Sephiroth’s tongue was in his mouth. Cloud had expected it to be more awkward than it was. Instead of eating his face, Sephiroth was gently exploring. The slowness of it made the kissing feel intimate. It was much nicer than Cloud had been prepared for.

Long fingers began to push Cloud’s jacket off his shoulders. Cloud shifted his arms back to allow the material to slide more easily down his shoulders. Sephiroth’s fingers immediately took interest in Cloud’s shirt. The kissing never paused, and it served as the perfect distraction. Cloud hadn’t noticed that his torso was nearly naked until Sephiroth broke their kiss for a moment to pull the offending shirt over Cloud’s head.

Cloud looked down and felt nervous again. Sephiroth was resting a hand against the fastenings of Cloud’s pants. When Cloud looked passed the dragon’s arms, he could see that Sephiroth was already erect and ready. He bit his lip, waiting for Sephiroth to pull his pants away, but the dragon had paused.

Cautiously, Cloud glanced up and found that Sephiroth was watching his face intensely. Cloud was surprised to find that Sephiroth was waiting for Cloud to calm down and give him permission again. The human gave Sephiroth a quick nod, and the dragon began to undo the fastenings.

Soon, Cloud was lifting his hips to allow Sephiroth to pull his pants and underclothing down his legs. Fortunately, a thick fur covered the floor before the fire, or Cloud would have been freezing. Instead, he felt warm. The ability to see himself and Sephiroth in the firelight removed some of Cloud’s anxiety. Losing his virginity in the dark would have been terrifying.

Sephiroth set Cloud’s pants aside, but didn’t immediately move to cover Cloud’s body with his own. Instead, the dragon looked over Cloud’s pale form with curious eyes. Cloud’s body was beautiful. Small and muscular with full thighs. His skin lacked the scars of the average hunter, and Sephiroth knew from experience that Cloud’s skin was soft to the touch.

“W-What now?” Cloud questioned. He was looking at Sephiroth from beneath a fringe of blonde hair. He was embarrassed, the dragon realized as he quickly produced a small container of lubricant from beneath the bed.

Cloud watched with curious eyes as Sephiroth opened a small, stone bowl. It held what looked like some sort of balm, but Sephiroth coated his fingers thickly in it.

“Spread your legs a little wider Cloud. Your body needs to be prepared for this,” Sephiroth explained. He rubbed his fingers together to heat the balm, and, nervously, Cloud spread his thighs a little further to accommodate the dragon between them.

“Will it hurt?” Cloud questioned. He tried to sit up a bit to watch as Sephiroth brought his fingers between Cloud’s thighs.

“It shouldn’t,” Sephiroth answered. Already his fingers smoothed over the opening, coating the area around Cloud’s entrance with the warmed balm. Then, without warning, one finger slipped completely inside Cloud’s waiting body. It went in shockingly easily. Cloud felt the digit exploring his inner walls, but his body wasn’t fighting it as hard as he expected.

“Is there something in this balm that’s... Helping?” Cloud questioned.

Sephiroth released a low chuckle and shook his head. “It’s only a lubricant. The best I can make, but... It’s not herbal.” Sephiroth leaned over Cloud and pressed a quick kiss to Cloud’s forehead. “It’s only one finger. There’s a world of difference between one finger and two,” Sephiroth explained. “But that old belief that sex between two men is painful, isn’t really the truth,” Sephiroth promised.

Cloud looked doubtful, and his doubts only grew as a second finger snuck in next to the first. Suddenly, the intrusion felt so much larger. It shouldn’t have been so much more awkward, but it was. Now the fingers inside felt strange and unnatural. His body clenched and unclenched outside of Cloud’s control in an attempt to remove it.

Cloud looked at Sephiroth for direction, but then the dragon’s fingers began to move. Instantly, his body seemed less bothered by the intrusion. It was as though the gentle thrusting had removed some kind of pressure inside. The dragon clearly knew what he was doing, and Cloud found himself wondering where he had learned.

Soon, fingers were gently scissoring inside Cloud’s body, and a third finger slid in naturally with the first two. Cloud found himself reaching out, trying to bring Sephiroth closer to himself for comfort. The dragon obliged him, leaning over the length of Cloud’s body to gently nuzzle the human’s blond hair.

“Are you ready?” Sephiroth asked. This was the part Cloud had been silently dreading, but he nodded anyway.

Sephiroth reached between them to align himself, but didn’t push in immediately. He brought his body down closer to Clouds and rested their foreheads together. The dragon’s unusual blue-green eyes were searching Cloud’s intensely as the head pressed into Cloud’s body.

Cloud blushed hard. His arms wrapped themselves tightly around Sephiroth’s neck. Admittedly, he was still a little afraid. He could tell that Sephiroth’s length was bigger than fingers, and they felt nothing alike. Nervously, Cloud buried his face in Sephiroth’s neck. He was embarrassed, but he reasoned that no one would ever know that he clung to the dragon for comfort anyway. He could indulge himself a little bit.

Sephiroth seemed to approve of Cloud’s embrace, because Cloud could feel the familiar, rumbling purr in Sephiroth’s chest. The dragon sank in slowly, inch by inch. His length felt enormous. Cloud could definitely tell that Sephiroth’s dick was reaching territory that his fingers hadn’t, but it didn’t hurt. Only the entrance seemed bothered by Sephiroth’s entry. It continued to clench, but it wasn’t as irritated now as it had been when that second finger was added.

For the most part, Sephiroth was seated comfortable. Cloud found his body slowly relaxing. He’d expected so much worse. He felt a friction he’d never felt before, and he felt pleasantly full. Sephiroth’s dick felt like a heavy weight on his hips, but, when Sephiroth pulled back and thrust forward for the first time, Cloud forgot the strangeness of it.

Friction turned to liquid heat in Cloud’s lower stomach. Already, he felt the familiar pressure of an orgasm building. Sephiroth’s pace began slow, and Cloud could feel every bit of Sephiroth’s texture. He could feel the underlying vein and the crest of the head as it moved within him. Cloud was too embarrassed and awed to move his face from its safe spot in Sephiroth’s neck. He closed his eyes and focused on the new sensation.

Sephiroth didn’t have patience for the slow pace for long. Soon, the dragon’s pace increased, and Cloud could no longer feel the shape of Sephiroth as well. Instead, he felt greater heat and pressure. Both were building rapidly.

Cloud let his head fall back with an involuntary moan. He glanced up, eyes half-lidded with unexpected pleasure, and found a very smug dragon looking back at him. Cloud scowled, and Sephiroth immediately increased the pace again. This time, Cloud cried out. His fingers fisted the fur beneath him.

It felt good - so much better than Cloud ever expected. Sephiroth was a great, protective shape over him. The heat in his stomach was too much, but it was perfect and Cloud wanted more. Cloud glanced between them and watched, fascinated, as Sephiroth moved in and out of him. Cloud’s length was swollen and already dripping. Without really thinking, Cloud reached between them to fist himself.

That was too much. Cloud’s head fell backward as he experienced his first orgasm of the night. Thick semen coated his stomach, and his body clenched down hard around Sephiroth’s length. The dragon released a shocked gasp and instantly slowed.

Cloud realized, with some shock, that his clenching had caused Sephiroth to orgasm as well. The dragon trembled above him, eyes closed. Cloud felt Sephiroth’s balls come to rest snuggly against his ass as the dragon buried himself deep and went still.

Cloud could feel every pulse of Sephiroth’s dick. Curiously, Cloud brought a hand to rest on his stomach. He felt no eggs, but he felt a spreading pool of heat inside him. The dragon’s semen was surprisingly warm, and Cloud could feel it pushing deeper inside him with every pulse. Cloud’s muscles relaxed even further in comfort.

Soon, the pulsing stopped, and Cloud looked curiously at Sephiroth’s face. The dragon was watching him with adoration. The silver dragon leaned down to brush their lips together again and Cloud sighed happily. The human’s fingers brushed lazily through Sephiroth’s hair. He’d been wanting to touch it, and, after sex, Cloud felt like he had a license too.

Cloud hummed and tried to lift himself, but Sephiroth pulled him back down. Cloud looked at the dragon in confusion, and Sephiroth offered him a knowing smile.

“We’re not finished Cloud. I have not planted any eggs,” Sephiroth explained.

Cloud glanced between them again. Now that he was focused, he realized that Sephiroth hadn’t softened at all. He looked up at Sephiroth again. His expression was questioning, but, instead of explaining, Sephiroth began thrusting again.

The heat was much slower the build after Cloud’s orgasm, but each thrust felt surprisingly pleasant now that his body was completely relaxed. Sephiroth kept his thrusts slow and measured, and Cloud began to enjoy how well he could feel Sephiroth once again.

Now that he was a little less distracted by the new sensations, Cloud focused a little more on Sephiroth. He could see the pleasure in Sephiroth’s face, and, somehow, that was incredibly hot. Experimentally, Cloud tried clenching down. Sephiroth released a strangled groan of pleasure. The sound reverberated deep in Sephiroth’s chest, rumbling with his purr.

“Cloud...” Sephiroth whispered. The dragon was watching him again. Eyes were narrowed with something that looked like affection. Cloud felt powerful after seeing his affect on the dragon, but the intimacy was too much. He glanced away, still embarrassed by his position.

It was then that he felt the widening of his opening. Quickly, he looked back at Sephiroth, who offered him a half-smile. Cloud felt the small orb pass through the tight ring of muscle, but it was small enough that Cloud barely felt it afterward.

“W-Was that the first?” Cloud asked. His fingers gently fisted Sephiroth’s hair. He was nervous, but he was also a little awed by the idea that life had just found its way inside him.

“The first,” Sephiroth agreed. “There wont be many more.”

Sephiroth’s pace never did increase. The slow movement must have been meant to encourage the movement of the eggs. Only two more passed, before Sephiroth stilled again and began to release another pool of semen over them.

Cloud sighed in pleasure. He loved the way it felt when Sephiroth came. He’d never admit it, but the heat pooling in his stomach was heavenly.

Sephiroth refused to move immediately. The dragon lay over Cloud and basked in the closeness and the heat of the fire. Cloud didn’t fight him. Instead, his fingers gently explored Sephiroth’s back. Faintly, Cloud realized that he’d had a fairly good time losing his virginity. He felt far less afraid now that the deed was done.

Cloud whimpered as Sephiroth pulled out. Maybe this was the worst part of sex. Suddenly he felt uncomfortably empty. His body clenched, searching for the previous intrusion. He shuddered. Cloud moved to sit up in an attempt to help his body adjust, but Sephiroth gently pushed him back down again.

“The eggs need to settle Cloud,” Sephiroth said simply. The dragon had brought a pillow from the bed. Gingerly, he guided it under Cloud’s hips.

Cloud cocked an eyebrow. The position was hardly comfortable, but, soon Sephiroth brought another pillow from the bed. Cloud lifted his upper body just enough that Sephiroth could slide the pillow under Cloud’s head and shoulders.

“How long should I lay like this?” Cloud asked.

“All night, if you’re willing,” Sephiroth prompted. He brought a large fur from the bed and draped it over Cloud’s naked form. “I’ll watch over you why you sleep, and I wont let the fire go out,” Sephiroth promised.

Cloud nodded his understanding, but his eyes were focused on the hand that came to rest over his stomach. The fir still rested between them, but it felt intimate. It seemed ridiculous to feel weird about it after what they’d just done, but Cloud did feel strange.

Sephiroth was hyper focused on Cloud’s belly, and Cloud was reminded that sex had been about procreation - not friendship or anything similar. Sephiroth had the eggs he wanted, and he was sure to be focused on that rather than Cloud from now on.

Cloud sighed. He wasn’t quite sure why it bothered him so much. He’d only been there a few days. Hoping the dragon felt some kind of attachment beyond his eggs was completely ridiculous.

Chapter Text

Almost three weeks had passed, and Cloud had started watching his stomach closely. Surprisingly, Cloud felt no revulsion at the thought of the eggs growing inside him. The skin just starting to swell outward, and Cloud couldn’t stop touching it. He had just the barest of bumps, but he still felt so different.

They didn’t bother him as much as Cloud expected, but he still tried not to think about it too often. They were easier to ignore now that he had something to distract him. Sephiroth had cleared away another section of cave so that Cloud could spend his time preparing furs.

Apparently, they would be very handy once the eggs hatched, and Cloud enjoyed the familiar work.

The only difficulty was that the habitual tasks allowed his mind to wander, and Cloud couldn’t seem to stop thinking about the first time he’d had sex with Sephiroth. He craved a repeat performance, and he blamed the eggs inside him every day for his growing impurity.

At first, the thoughts had bothered him, but he’d found a few good points over the last couple weeks that made him feel better about his cravings. First, he was technically pregnant. He’d heard tales about pregnant women having insatiable lust, and Cloud had decided that it came with the territory. Second, he’d avoided masturbating out of fear that Sephiroth would catch him in the act, and, as a result, he was horribly pent up. Third, no one would ever know if he jumped the dragon’s bones again.

Sex with Sephiroth had been incredibly good. Cloud’s innocence was already gone, and, having lost his virginity, he didn’t feel as hesitant to have sex again. He’d wondered many times in the last few days if sex would be safe for the eggs, but, in the end, he was still to embarrassed to ask Sephiroth.

Cloud sighed loudly in exasperation. It had become much easier to converse with Sephiroth, but Cloud still had his difficulties. The dragon spent far more time in the cavern with him since he’d implanted his eggs. Cloud knew now that Sephiroth had been giving him space to adjust during his first few days. Now that Cloud was full of eggs, Sephiroth didn’t like to be away for too long at a time.

Admittedly, they spent most of their evening hours sitting together in silence. Long silences didn’t bother Sephiroth the way they bothered most humans, and Cloud had always been quiet. Cloud was no longer adverse to touch, and Sephiroth seemed to like it when the human pressed in next to him in the evening hours.

Cloud glanced up as Sephiroth entered the den. He offered a quick nod of greeting, then went back to stitching the dried furs he’d been working on. Sephiroth didn’t bother him while he finished. Instead, the dragon sat in his usual spot next to the fire and waited.

Once Cloud had finished his line of stitching, he moved to join Sephiroth. The dragon lifted his arm expectantly, and Cloud pressed into the space against the dragon’s side. A proud hand came to rest over Cloud’s stomach, and the blond allowed himself to relax and soak up the dragon’s heat.

They sat like that for almost an hour when Cloud asked another question that had been on his mind for a while.

“Why did you think I would make a good host, Sephiroth?”

The dragon paused a moment. He glanced at Cloud, then smiled and tugged on the human until Cloud shifted into his lap. Cloud looked up at the dragon, confused as Sephiroth tucked Cloud against his chest and wrapped him in a full embrace. It felt... Nice, so Cloud allowed himself to settle in while he waited for Sephiroth’s answer.

Surprisingly, he wasn’t waiting very long.

“I felt an immediate, instinctual attraction... Maybe even a touch of obsession. My parent told me that he felt much the same way before planting eggs,” Sephiroth explained. “I saw your face against the snow, and you were the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.”

“I knew it had to be you, Cloud,” Sephiroth continued. He said it so easily, as though it were a fact instead of a complement. The dragon’s fingers slid slowly through Cloud’s hair. The dragon leaned in to breath in his scent again. “I had no plans to breed until the moment I saw you there. I couldn’t let the chance slip away.”

Cloud was blushing. He was positive that Sephiroth was only playing with him. It sounded far too romantic to be the truth, but Cloud found himself swayed anyway.

“You should know, a dragon doesn’t start producing eggs until he finds the right host,” Sephiroth began again. “If you weren’t right for me, our coupling would never have happened.”

The blush spread to Cloud’s ears. He didn’t know what to say to that, but now he had the courage to ask another question that had been gnawing at the back of his mind.

“Is it safe for us... To have sex again?”

Sephiroth stiffened, and Cloud chanced looking up at his face. The dragon looked very pleasantly surprised. Before Cloud could look away, the dragon’s lips were on his again. Cloud hummed his enjoyment, and Sephiroth pushed him back against the furs. Cloud’s legs parted immediately to make room for the dragon between them.

Sephiroth took him against the furs again. The round was more rushed this time, and Cloud wondered if Sephiroth had been as pent up as he was. Sex was every bit as good as Cloud remembered, and, when Cloud woke in the morning, he felt better than he had in a very long time.

___________________________

 

Once they began having sex again, they couldn't seem to stop. Sephiroth had realized that Cloud no longer minded his touch, and he looked for any chance at all to get close. The dragon was far more comfortable. He often pulled Cloud down into his lap or caught him in sudden embraces. It should have driven Cloud crazy, but he’d begun to enjoy it. Again, he blamed the eggs growing inside him.

The eggs seemed to be a point of pride for Sephiroth. The dragon spent hours rubbing Cloud’s stomach every night. His fingers worked the skin in tender circles, usually just before bed. Sephiroth always noted the steady growth and praised Cloud for his good work.

Cloud was beginning to enjoy all of the casual intimacy. He especially liked the way Sephiroth held him close while they slept. He hadn’t realized how safe it would make him feel to have a heartbeat against his back. The knowledge that Sephiroth was powerful and dangerous only seemed to add to Cloud’s security.

It was definitely the sexual favors he liked most. The bigger his belly got, the hornier he became, and Sephiroth was more than happy to help him out. The sex was incredible. They were getting more inventive as time went on. They had sex anywhere they could keep Cloud warm enough during the act, and Cloud loved it.

Sephiroth hated to leave at all now that Cloud’s belly was noticeably round. He was incredibly protective, and Cloud was his to protect. He was beginning to fear that something might happen to his new family. He left for only brief periods to hunt down fresh meat, and Cloud was glad for it. In truth, he didn’t like when Sephiroth was away.

Altogether, Cloud was happier than he’d been in many years, but he was sure it was some kind of illusion. The eggs inside him were making him complacent somehow. Cloud was grateful for it, but, every day he began to dread the day he “gave birth” even more.

__________________________

 

Cloud had been with Sephiroth a little over three months, and his belly had become heavily swollen. Cloud was too big to wander around as much as he wanted to. Worse, the sex had stopped completely. Cloud was too close to birth to have sex safely - according to Sephiroth. Cloud hated him a little bit for him cutting off, but he knew the dragon was suffering too.

Sephiroth was more irritable than usual. The dragon had become accustomed to sex, and he was noticeably missing it. They had exchanged a few hand jobs to relieve some of the pressure. A few times, Sephiroth had used his mouth to bring Cloud to completion. While Sephiroth was excellent with his tongue, it was no replacement for sex.

A nest now occupied the space next to the fireplace. Sephiroth had meticulously put the nest together, and, since then, he’d been observing Cloud very closely. The dragon was convinced that the birth was mere days away, and he was terrified of missing it.

Cloud couldn’t help but find Sephiroth’s care endearing. He was sure now that the eggs must be affecting him. Cloud felt an immense attachment to the dragon. He grew anxious when Sephiroth was away, and he had a growing craving for Sephiroth’s touch.

Sephiroth had offered Cloud more contact and care than he had ever known, and, despite everything, Cloud knew he was going to miss the dragon terribly. He knew the eggs could only do so much. In truth, his home had been lonely, and, after knowing a constant companion, it was going to be difficult going back.

Cloud was deep in thought when he began feeling small twinges in his lower belly. He swallowed nervously. This was new, and he felt certain that the birth was impending. Sephiroth was out hunting, and Cloud was alone. Nervously, Cloud made his way into the nest.

He pulled off his clothing and dragged a large fur down over him. The twinges were quickly growing painful. Cloud could feel a rush of liquid between his thighs, and grew very nervous. He did not want to pass the eggs on his own.

Many more twinges sent pain up his lower back and spreading through his stomach, but no eggs passed before Sephiroth returned. The dragon was at his side in an instant. Cloud felt a deep rooted comfort as Sephiroth’s hand brushed over his forehead and through his hair. He closed his eyes and pressed his face into Sephiroth’s neck.

Sephiroth whispered sweet words in Cloud’s ear, and Cloud began to push as soon as he actually felt the eggs aligning themselves inside him. It was surprisingly natural. He kept pushing, and soon he felt the pressure of the first egg at his entrance. Passing the first took some time, but soon the egg rested safely in the nest.

Cloud couldn’t bring himself to look, but Sephiroth had lifted the fur and was now watching closely as Cloud passed the eggs.

The next two eggs followed quickly. They were much easier than the first, but Cloud was still exhausted by the time he finished. Sephiroth pulled the fur away entirely and encouraged Cloud to take a look at the eggs he’d birthed.

Cloud was surprised to see that the shells were soft and nearly transparent. He could see glimpses of the living infants inside. Tiny dragon’s were curled inside the soft shells. He could just barely see the outlines of tiny snouts and the curl of small tails.

“They look so fragile...” Cloud remarked with some concern. He wondered if he’d done something wrong for the eggs to look so soft and wet. But Sephiroth was smiling when Cloud glanced up at him.

“The eggs will Harden in the next few hours and turn silver. They’ll be completely safe,” Sephiroth promised. He leaned forward and pressed a gentle kiss to Cloud’s forehead. The human leaned into the touch and closed his eyes.

He knew there were many questions to ask, but he was far too tired for them at that moment. Instead, he curled against the furs and fell almost immediately asleep.

___________________________________________

 

Cloud didn’t immediately ask about leaving when he woke. He hadn’t needed to. Sephiroth was right beside him when his eyes opened.

“You’re going to need at least a week to recover, Cloud,” Sephiroth explained. He had moved Cloud to the bed and put several furs over him. The dragon was pressed against his side. An arm was wrapped protectively around Cloud’s body, and Cloud was far too tired to argue.

If the eggs had caused his attachment, then Cloud was still feeling their influence. He turned and pushed his head against Sephiroth’s chest. He pressed in close, and Sephiroth wrapped another arm tightly around his lover.

Cloud was asleep again in moments.

___________________________________________

 

The rest of Cloud’s week was quiet. He spent some time watching the eggs and thinking about what he might do when he returned home. A pool of dread was beginning to form in his lower belly. He was getting more and more anxious about leaving. Often, he wondered if he would see Sephiroth again, or if he would ever see the faces of the dragonlings he’d carried.

Cloud was finally beginning to accept that the eggs had nothing to do with the way he’d felt during his pregnancy, and he was quickly running out of time with his impromptu family. Cloud was feeling painfully conflicted. He was beginning to wish he could stay, but he wasn’t sure he could even if he wanted to.

The high mountain wasn’t a good place for humans, and Cloud couldn’t tell if Sephiroth even wanted him to stay. Sex didn’t mean affection, and it was possible that Sephiroth only really had eyes for his eggs.

The dragon had barely spoke to him in the week since the eggs were lain. He spent a lot of time sitting next to the nest and watching their eggs. The man had not tried to pull Cloud down next to him, or hold him close the way he had when Cloud was pregnant. The distance was disheartening.

Finally, Cloud went to Sephiroth to ask about his imminent departure.

“Sephiroth... When are you going to take me home?” Cloud questioned. He knew that the weather had already broken. He also knew that the eggs were stable and safe. Sephiroth could take him any time, but, when the dragon turned to face him, he was visibly upset.

Sephiroth’s brow was furrowed. His lips were twisted in a partial scowl. Cloud stared at him for a moment, then Sephiroth reached out and pulled Cloud close. Cloud was surprised by the sudden embrace, especially after Sephiroth’s distance over the last few days.

What was he supposed to think?

“Cloud... Could we have sex one last time?” Sephiroth asked. Pale fingers slid into Cloud’s hair. The dragon buried his nose in Cloud’s neck and breathed in deeply. Cloud sighed his contentment. He wanted Sephiroth, and hearing that the dragon wanted him, at least physically, was a relief.

Gently, Cloud returned the dragon’s embrace. “I want you,” Cloud admitted.

Not a moment later, Sephiroth was lifting Cloud against him and carrying the beauty back to the bedroom. The dragon pushed Cloud down onto the bed of furs and settled between his legs. In a rush, Sephiroth pulled the shirt over his lover’s head. As soon as Cloud’s skin was bare, Sephiroth lowered his head and wrapped his lips around a perked nipple.

Cloud gasped. His legs tightened around Sephiroth’s waist a he arched against his lover. Sephiroth’s chest rumbled with a familiar purr of contentment. Teasingly, he grazed Cloud’s flesh with his teeth. Cloud whimpered in pleasure and Sephiroth released the little bud.

“Pants,” Sephiroth whispered in a rush. Cloud lifted his hips, and Sephiroth jerked the pants down his legs. When the fastenings didn’t move, Sephiroth cut them open with sharp nails. The pants nearly fell down Cloud’s legs after.

Cloud was already painfully hard. Watching how eager Sephiroth had become so incredibly hot. Cloud spread his legs wide and grinned when Sephiroth moved in to kiss him hard. Prep was incredibly fast this time. Sephiroth’s entire body was tight with tension, and he had no patience at all for slow prep work.

Cloud didn’t mind. He felt very much the same. It had been far too long since he’d last felt Sephiroth inside him.

Sephiroth didn’t wait long. As soon as Cloud was prepared, the dragon gripped Cloud’s hips and slammed home. Cloud cried out in pleasure. His nails bit into Sephiroth’s back as the dragon began to thrust.

Hot pressure roared to life in Cloud’s lower belly. Sephiroth’s pace grew fast, and Cloud’s grip tightened against the pleasure.

“Cloud,” Sephiroth crooned. He took hold of Cloud’s arms, and pushed back so that Cloud’s hands left his back and fell flat against the furs. With a low purr, Sephiroth’s hands slid up Cloud’s arms until their fingers were laced.

“I missed this,” Sephiroth continued. His lips found Cloud’s in a near bruising kiss.

Cloud moaned. The pressure was becoming too much. Cloud felt the strong urge to touch himself, but Sephiroth had his hands. He whimpered, and Sephiroth angled his hips in that way that made Cloud crazy. Sephiroth’s length was brushing that sweet spot inside, and Cloud began seeing sparks behind his eyelids.

“Please,” Cloud begged.

Sephiroth released on of Cloud’s hands, reaching between them to fist Cloud’s length. The blond whimpered in pleasure. Cloud’s newly free hand slid into Sephiroth’s hair and pulled the man down into another passionate kiss. Moments later, Cloud was coming hard. Sephiroth’s lips managed to stifle his cries of pleasure.

Sephiroth’s thrusts increased in pace. His head moved to the side and eager lips found the junction of Cloud’s neck and shoulder. Sephiroth bit gently into Cloud’s pale skin. Cloud gasped, shuddering as Sephiroth stilled and came inside him. Familiar heat began to pool inside Cloud’s waiting body.

Cloud’s fingers gently stroked Sephiroth’s hair, as the dragon road out the last of his orgasm. Cloud smiled fondly, exhausted. Sephiroth always seemed to get as deep as he possibly could before he released. It was wonderfully familiar and reassuring.

Cloud sighed and closed his eyes. He was almost asleep in no time at all. He wasn’t even sure it was real when Sephiroth nuzzled his ear and began whispering to him.

“I love you,” Sephiroth’s voice was soft and close - words meant just for him. “You don’t have to leave, Cloud. We could be a family.”

____________________________________

 

When Cloud woke, Sephiroth was no longer beside him. Cloud sat up, groggy and disoriented. He calmed when he saw Sephiroth sitting nearby. He was staring into the flames again, and his shoulders were tense. Cloud could see how anxious the man was.

Cloud carefully got out of bed and approached his lover. Gently, he touched Sephiroth’s shoulder, sliding his hand down the dragon’s arm in an attempt to sooth him.

“What’s wrong?” Cloud asked. He sat down and pressed himself to Sephiroth’s side, just as he’d done long ago when the eggs were newly planted.

“I’m a dragon, Cloud... But, now that I’ve found a treasure I truly want, I can’t keep it,” Sephiroth murmured. An arm wrapped gently around Cloud’s shoulders and pulled him close.

Cloud found himself smiling. He had no doubts about what Sephiroth was talking about.

“Sephiroth... I’m not going anywhere,” Cloud promised. He crawled closer and straddled Sephiroth’s legs. “I want to stay here, with you.”

The dragon’s eyes widened. Slit pupils dilated in extraordinary joy.

“I love you,” Sephiroth said again. His arms were wrapped tightly around his human mate. The dragon felt a deep, growing sense of satisfaction. He had never wanted anything or anyone so badly. His family was complete, and he had more to look forward to than he ever had before.

“I love you too,” Cloud promised. His fingers curled adoringly against Sephiroth’s neck. Looking up into his dragon’s eyes, he knew he could make a life for himself in the mountains.

 

_______________A Few Months Later_______________

 

Cloud walked through the thick, summer grass. Three, small dragons leaped excitedly around his feet as he walked. Their father was hunting. He occasionally circled overhead, keeping an eye on his family while he looked for their dinner.

Cloud led his small family up a hillside, and took a seat under a tree. His sons - Kadaj, Loz, and Yazoo, all looked at him for a moment, but then bound down the hillside to play fight in the clearing below. Their small, silver bodies glinted in the sunlight.

Cloud watched them fondly. It was a familiar scene. His sons loved to romp in the summer grass, but they never strayed very far from Cloud. They were all hopeless momma’s boys. All three of them looked up to Sephiroth in awe, but Cloud was always the one they wanted. They switched readily between dragonlings and toddlers. Often, they draped their little bodies over Cloud’s legs or curled up to sleep in a circle around him.

Cloud couldn’t believe how incredibly content he was. He had never imagined himself having a family, but he loved his boys and his mate. Sephiroth had remained ever attentive since Cloud had made the decision to stay. The dragon was clearly proud of his litter of dragonlings. Sephiroth could watch his sons for hours, and he hated to be away from them for too long.

Cloud’s eyes followed Loz as he accidentally took a tumble down the hill. Cloud immediately got to his feet and walked toward his infant son. The boy was a terrible cry baby, and he was sure to cry for his mother as soon as he hit the bottom of the hill. He would be a human toddler in an instant. He found that Cloud coddled him more when he wore a human face while he bawled.

As Cloud got close, a glint of white caught his eye.

Cloud grinned. It was the skull of a Nibel lion. The rest of its bones were scattered about the clearing or missing, but Cloud recognized the beast that had first led him up the mountain. He could see now that it was the luckiest hunt he had ever taken, but not for the reasons he’d anticipated.