"Follow me," he had whispered, "I need you to."
Zack stared around the empty street, the blond he had been pursuing no where in sight. How was he supposed to follow him when he disappeared like a Turk? Sighing heavily the brunet turned to go back to his apartment when a flash of gold met his eyes. At the end of the street stood Cloud, his eyes facing the moon. Slowly the blond turned his face so that brilliant sapphire orbs gazed at the motionless raven haired male. A soft smile touched his lips before he turned on his heel and headed out of sight.
Zack snapped out of his daze and hurried after the younger male, but once he reached the end of the street he was once again faced with only the night. Running a hand through his hair he sighed heavily and began to slowly make his down the side walk.
"You're not going to catch him if you don't hurry yo," a voice drawled and violet eyes snapped to the redheaded Turk leaning against a building.
"Where'd he go?" the first class SOLDIER asked urgently. He didn't know why it was so important that he found Cloud, he just knew that if he didn't something horrible would happen.
"Look for yourself," Reno raised a cigarette to his lips and took a long drag, "You'll find him no matter where you go after all."
"What do you mean by that?" Zack tilted his head to the side in confusion.
"You know what I mean," the redhead pushed away from the wall and disappeared down a side alley without another word.
"Wait!" the brunet called.
"Zack," a voice breathed and the SOLDIER spun to see Cloud vanish around the corner at the far end of the street.
Taking off at a run, Zack was able to obtain another brief glimpse of the blond when he turned the corner, but once he reached the end of the new street Cloud was gone. "No, no, no!" the brunet hissed.
"What's the matter Puppy?"
"I can't catch him...wait...Angeal?" the brunet turned, his raven spikes swaying slightly. A tall, well muscled man stood at the end of the street in the direction Zack had come from, two pure white wings draped over his back.
"You need to find him Pup," the SOLDIER said seriously, "Before it's too late."
"What do you mean?"
"He needs you like I did," the older brunet smiled sadly, "Don't let him fall." The white wings stretched out and in a shower of ivory feathers Angeal took to the sky.
"Wait! Angeal!" Zack held up his hand as if to stop the other man.
A scream cut through the night and the spiky haired youth spun in an attempt to find it. Running in the direction it had come from Zack almost pulled up short when a tall man with flowing silver hair approached him, a cruel smile twisting his lips. "Too late," Sephiroth whispered when they were parallel, but Zack did not stop.
Coming to a large square, the brunet paused, taking in the sight before him. Cloud lay in a crumpled heap at the base of a large Shinra statue. "No," he breathed, "No...no...Cloud..." Hurrying forward, Zack took the blond in his arms, ignoring the blood that covered him as he cradled the small form. He was cold, too cold.
"Don't worry," a voice breathed. Zack looked up to glare at the brown haired girl standing over him. "You came in the end," Aerith smiled softly.
"I was too late," Zack spat, "Oh Cloud..." A sob tore its way from his throat and he convulsed around the blond in his arms. His body shook as tears pored from his eyes. "I should have protected you," he sobbed, "I should have followed more closely."
"Zack," a voice called from far away, but the brunet dismissed it. All that mattered was the form in his arms. "Zack," the voice called again, this time closer, "Zack!"
"Leave me alone," the brunet wailed.
A hand smacked across the SOLDIER's face and he jolted upright. Cloud hovered over him, a worried expression in his sapphire eyes. "What..." Zack mumbled as he looked around, taking in the bedroom he shared with the blond.
"Thank Gaia," Cloud sighed, "I thought I wasn't going to be able to wake you up."
The raven haired male stared at the blond for a moment, tears still streaming down his face. Suddenly he lunged forward, taking Cloud into his arms and squeezing him tight. "I'll protect you," he breathed, "I'll always follow close enough that nothing ever happens to you."
"Zack," Cloud giggled uncomfortably, "I'm fine, nothings going to happen."
"That's real sweet of you," the blond laughed, "You can let go now."
The brunet smiled widely as he leaned back and gazed at the younger male. Cloud began to fidget under the scrutiny, but Zack continued to stare, silently taking in his unmarred skin. Sighing happily, Zack leaned forward and nuzzled the blond, pulling him down onto the bed with him. Silently wrapping himself around Cloud, Zack allowed himself to drift back to sleep.
He got them out of the labs, dragged Cloud across so much land, through the woods, did everything he could, but they were still found. He wouldn't allow them to take Cloud, wouldn't fail to protect him. With a smile he hid the blond and waited. It didn't take them long to find him, took even less time for them to fill him with bullets. But he had protected Cloud, he had kept his promise.