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On Gaia as it is in Heaven

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Sephiroth hovered in the nearby trees, watching the local shrine god for the seventh day in a row. Angeal and Genesis had informed him his behavior amounted to “stalking” after asking him how he’d been spending his time. The young general hadn’t thought what he was doing was wrong despite Angeal’s rebuke and Genesis’s teasing. He felt justified in his peeping because the god was so pretty. (He shouldn’t be so pretty if he didn’t want to draw interest.) When seen in all his glory—soft, wispy hair the color of the sun, eyes like the summer sky, opalescent feathered wings spread majestically, flawless skin kissed with the sun—anyone would stop and stare. Sephiroth was helpless against his allure. Quite possibly, this was the first person Sephiroth had desired sexually—especially when the god shamelessly showed off his compact, nude body while bathing (and sleeping and doing chores which Sephiroth had also observed). But when the god called out Sephiroth’s name, Sephiroth was surprised.

Sephiroth. Get in here. Now,” the god ordered in a firm voice, hands on his hips, his voice low as if he knew about Sephiroth’s enhanced hearing. His wings were spread wide on either side. His blue eyes glowed with warmth, matching the silk robe he wore loosely tied at his waist. “The past week has been ridiculous. You have been ridiculous.”

Ridiculous? No one had dared call Sephiroth ridiculous—at least, not since he was seven. The teenager bristled at the term. He’d been serving as the General of SOLDIER for five years now, competently taking over Shinra’s war with Wutai. Shinra had entered negotiations with Lord Godo about a week ago after Sephiroth and his men had broken through Wutai’s headquarters. His talent was the opposite of ridiculous!

The god turned on his heel, hazarding a glance over his shoulder, assuring Sephiroth followed him into the shrine. Perhaps a little self-conscious at having been caught gawking, Sephiroth brushed off the leaves and dirt stuck to his uniform. Perhaps he hadn’t been as subtle in his reconnaissance as he’d believed.

Sephiroth had left small gifts for the handsome god outside the shrine daily, including baskets of fresh fruit and vegetables, baked goods, meat and cheese, alcohol, and even bouquets of flowers he had picked himself and artfully arranged. Before deploying to Wutai, he’d read it was the custom to shower local gods with gifts, and that they would grant their worshippers prayers in return. Sephiroth didn’t have any prayer requests and didn’t consider himself a religious person, but that didn’t mean he didn’t have a wish. He hadn’t even believed the man to be a god until he saw his lovely wings. Additionally, he’d seen the god cast spells without materia. Sephiroth knew he hadn’t had materia equipped since the god was naked at the time.

Not that he’d spent that much time watching the gorgeous winged creature bathe in the lake.

Well, perhaps he had spent every day of the past week watching him, and he had specifically timed his visits according to the god’s bathing schedule. That was what convinced Angeal and Genesis that he was stalking the blonde. But they would do the same had they seen him in person. During the week-long ceasefire, Angeal and Genesis had been heavily involved with each other and hadn’t had time or interest to notice anyone else. He didn’t mind, since he didn’t want to share the god with any other person.

“How do you know my name?” Sephiroth asked, watching the god’s hips sway subtly beneath the sheer silk robe. It was pale blue, richly made, and it suited him. Sephiroth envied the fabric of that robe—touching smooth skin all over, swishing lightly between his legs in the hot summer breeze.

“I’m a god,” Cloud replied smugly as if that explained anything at all.

“Hmph,” Sephiroth huffed. The god stopped walking and turned to face the younger man, blue eyes glowing brightly. They didn’t glow green like a SOLDIER with mako enhancements. Instead, they emitted a warm golden light.

“What? You’ve been leaving me gifts all week. It’s time to address the purpose of your visits. Isn’t this what you wanted?” Sephiroth was distracted by the god’s gentle voice. He nearly forgot to reply. He did, in fact, forget the question, so he asked one of his own.

“What is your name?” He asked.

“I’m Cloud, the god of strife.”

Sephiroth paused for a moment, considering the most polite way to address a deity. He wasn't just a man, Sephiroth knew. Not with those eyes and wings. Cloud spoke up as though he could read the younger man’s thoughts.

“Just call me Cloud. I don’t care for formal titles and fake worship bullshit.” He continued into the shrine, sliding open a door and ushering Sephiroth inside. A low table on the floor and all the makings for Wutaian tea waited for them there. “Have a seat.”

“You are a god, then?” Sephiroth took a seat on the floor in front of the table on one of the cushions.

“What else would I be? Why else would you leave me offerings?”

“Um,” Sephiroth stammered uncharacteristically. “I read it was the local custom. To leave offerings at the local shrine. I was, um, trying to respect the culture.”

“You’re doing a little more than leaving offerings, Sephiroth.” Cloud took the kettle from the heat and started the tea ceremony.

Averting his eyes at the accusation, Sephiroth hesitated to admit Cloud was right. Though the peeping was hardly his fault. If the god didn’t want others to peep at him, perhaps he ought not to wander around the property in the nude. Sephiroth was comfortable with his body. Years in the lab forced him to be so. But he'd never seen another person quite so eager to shed clothes. Within a few feet of the god, a delicious, enticing scent drifted into Sephiroth’s sensitive nose—sweet and warm, like the sun if it had a smell. He wasn’t sure what to expect from a god of strife. After a semi-awkward pause, the gorgeous blonde spoke again.

“You’re much younger than I expected.”

“Excuse me?”

“I knew you were young when you went to war in Wutai. I just never thought you’d be this young. How old are you now?”

“I am eighteen this year,” Sephiroth replied, thinking he ought to feel offended. “How old are you?”

“I’m a god. I’ve lived for millennia.”

“Oh.” He certainly didn’t look older than twenty, Sephiroth thought. For now, he shut his mouth and watched the ceremony. The god moved automatically, on reflex, and it was relaxing and soothing to watch. He’d never witnessed a tea ceremony before and was surprised that he enjoyed the lovely if mundane movements behind it. Sephiroth was thankful to be here despite the awkwardness.

“Thanks for the gifts, by the way,” Cloud said, handing the young man a cup of tea. Its floral fragrance blossomed delightfully in Sephiroth’s sensitive nose. “I particularly enjoyed the sake and the flowers. I don’t think anyone has ever left me flowers before.”

“I was told that flowers—” the silver-haired youth stopped himself. Angeal and Genesis had given Sephiroth suggestions on what sorts of gifts to leave a potential suitor. Genesis said artfully arranged flowers—even those picked in the wild—were a good gift for those you were interested in courting. But Sephiroth didn’t want to admit that out loud. He glanced up to find Cloud waiting for him to finish.

“You were told that flowers what?”

“Nothing, it makes no difference,” Sephiroth unsuccessfully tried to avoid the question, taking a sip of tea.

“Who told you about flowers? Did you ask for advice on what sorts of gifts you should leave me?”

Sephiroth’s pale cheeks and the tips of his ears warmed with a blush, but it felt too vulnerable, too weak, to admit he had asked for help.

“It does not matter.”

“It does matter. I’m a god and you’re in my home. You ought to at least show me the respect I’m due by answering my questions.” Cloud’s tone sounded almost snarky. 

“If you are the god you claim to be, wouldn’t you already know the answer to your question?”

“Don’t get smart with me,” Cloud huffed crossly. But then he smiled. “You’re right, though. But sometimes it’s nice to hear it.”

“Oh.”

“I noticed you waited to see when I’d find your gifts, by the way.”

“You saw me?” Sephiroth was sure he had hidden adequately. Perhaps the god was gifted with exceptional eyesight.

“Yes, it was so cute to see you hiding in the forest, thinking I wouldn’t notice you or realize the gifts were from you.”

“I was not hiding,” the young general retorted, resenting being called cute. He hadn’t been cute since he was seven. “I’m no coward.”

“Oh? Then why not knock and announce your arrival? Hand the gifts over in person?”

The younger man huffed softly—well aware that the noise sounded incredibly childish. It almost felt that Cloud was trying to get under his skin. Or maybe he was teasing. Were gods of strife known for teasing?

“I did not wish to disturb you,” he replied lamely.

Disturb me? What would make you think you were disturbing me?”

“Well, you are a god, right? I’m sure you have other things to do. You know, celestial tasks, natural disasters, and whatever it is you do.”

“You’re a general, and yet you’re hanging around my property at all hours.”

That was the truth, and Sephiroth couldn’t deny it. Cloud was fascinating in a way the young man couldn’t quite explain. It might have had to do with all that perfect ivory skin he displayed so boldly. Even now, his robe was open at the chest, displaying honey-tanned skin from hours under the sun. Just beneath his navel, a fine trail of golden blonde hair hinted at what was hidden beneath the robe.

“You were often undressed when I would visit,” Sephiroth explained. “I have heard that most people do not like to receive visitors in the nude.”

A golden eyebrow arched and his eyes flared. Cloud’s pupils widened slightly before narrowing in a distinctly predatory gaze. Up close, the god was somewhat shorter than the general—just by a few inches. While the blonde was built lean and muscular, hiding power beneath his slim physique, Sephiroth believed he was still the stronger of the two. So why would the god give him such a predatory look?

“You were embarrassed,” Cloud stated definitively, smiling smugly before glancing at the cup in his hand.

“I was not embarrassed!”

“You were embarrassed because you were peeping at me!” Cloud chuckled softly—in a kind tone. This was not the mocking laughter Sephiroth was used to from Genesis. This felt warm and welcoming. “It’s sweet, really.”

Sweet, cute, embarrassed. All of these were words Sephiroth would never apply to himself. So he skillfully changed the subject.

“Well, I am glad you enjoyed the gifts. I assumed that a god would not have to eat or drink. It seems inefficient.”

“Oh, I don’t need food to survive. But I do enjoy imbibing from time to time. As I said, the sake was delicious.” Cloud took a sip of his tea. “I noticed you moved my bathing supplies, too.”

The young general jerked up his chin at that comment, wondering if he had angered the beautiful god. Earlier in the week, Sephiroth had discovered his toiletries in a hiding spot beneath a stone on the lakeshore. He’d only wanted to smell them. The shampoo smelled so nice and floral. Cloud’s soap was equally fine, especially when compared to the generic military stuff that smelled like artificial apples.

“I, um, I just wanted to smell them. I do not care for the shit the military supplies.”

Cloud quirked an eyebrow again at the word “shit.”

“What?” Sephiroth asked, trying to keep the challenge from his tone.

“I just didn’t take you to be the swearing type. It suits you.”

“I wonder,” Sephiroth replied. He was a general, for god’s sake—er, for Cloud’s sake?—of course he swore from time to time. And how would the god know what suited him or not?

“Don’t worry about it. I like it.”

Could the god read his mind? Did he know that Sephiroth found him attractive and longed to explore every inch of skin with his fingers and tongue, to see if he tasted as good as he smelled? To his horror, Cloud broke eye contact the very second that thought ran through Sephiroth’s mind. Cloud was still smiling, his freckle-dusted cheeks flushing softly. He was even prettier up close.

“So. Let’s get down to business. Why are you here?” Cloud asked directly.

“You invited me—” 

“I mean, why are you leaving me offerings? You’ve heard that leaving a god offerings at his shrine will often grant prayer requests, yes?”

“I have but—”

Cloud shushed the general—and that hadn’t happened since he was ten. No one dared to shush him anymore. Cloud waved his hand dismissively.

“You’ve been peeping at me, stalking me, for an entire week. Surely, if you have this much free time you must have been granted some R&R.”

“I am required to stay until the conclusion of the peace negotiations,” Sephiroth stated.

Cloud sighed and returned his cup to the table, leaning down and resting his chin against his forearms. He looked up at the general through his eyelashes—surprising dark for a blonde.

“Shinra doesn’t treat you well,” he said plainly. “They treat you like a machine. But you’re a person—a man of flesh and blood—just like the rest of the soldiers. Why wouldn’t you also deserve some time to recuperate and relax?”

Sephiroth had heard this ridiculous statement before from his friends. Even Genesis and Angeal had taken some leave since the start of the war. But Sephiroth was designed for war, bred for it, and therefore was held to a higher standard. It made sense in his young mind. He was the strongest SOLDIER. But to hear the words from this stranger’s mouth—from the mouth of a god, a gorgeous one, at that? It was hard to ignore. He averted his eyes to disguise his thoughts but still felt the god watching him.

“You’re here for a reason, aren’t you?”

“I...” Sephiroth’s voice trailed off when he was unable to find the words to explain why he’d been hanging around. “I simply had extra time on my hands.”

“Uh-huh. So much extra time that you can spend all day staring at my ass?”

“To be fair, it is a very nice ass,” he pointed out more honestly than he’d intended. He very nearly clapped a hand over his mouth at the ease with which he’d spilled his confession but kept his hands wrapped around the teacup.

Cloud laughed.

“I know you, Sephiroth,” Cloud said, leaning over the table to get in his space. His voice purred and rattled something in the general’s chest. “I’m an omniscient being. You can’t hide from me.”

“I’m not hiding!” The younger man snapped.

“Right. Of course you aren’t. So then, tell me what you want, directly. I would like to grant you your heart’s desire.”

“What? Why?”

“Despite my status as a strife god, I’m a benevolent one, I have a soft spot in my heart for you, and I think you deserve it.” He paused a moment before continuing, making sure to make eye contact. “I know about your upbringing.”

The young general was stunned into silence.

“I know Hojo calls himself your father, but no loving father would submit his child to the torturous experiments he put you through. How old were you when you first had to fight for your life? Five?”

How could he know that? The earth wobbled unsteadily beneath Sephiroth’s knees as his entire worldview shifted. Apparently, there were real deities in this world, and this one knew everything about him.

“And he told you your mother is Jenova? Well, that’s a lie. You are special, Sephiroth, but no less a man—no less human—with every need humans have. You have to breathe oxygen, you have to eat and drink, you have to sleep, you crave touch.” He stopped for a moment to scoot around the side of the table, creeping further into the general’s space, never taking his clear blue eyes off him. “Especially touch. You crave it because you’ve never had it in kindness. You watch your friends with envy, longing for the same delicate care. But you feel undeserving of kindness.”

There was a silence between them—not exactly comfortable, but not awkward, either. Sephiroth felt seen and understood in a way he had never felt before. His heart warmed, and to his dismay, the warmth melted into a pool in his groin. It was a natural reaction, he told himself, a biological response. Cloud was enticing, after all.

“Your real mother is a scientist named Lucrecia Crescent. She couldn’t forgive herself for letting Hojo pluck you from her arms. Jenova is not what you think she is, but you are no less human for her influence. You are not a war machine nor a monster.”

“How can you know any of this?”

“I’m a god. It’s in the job description, kid.”

Cloud smiled as Sephiroth bristled at being called a kid. He ignored it and continued.

“Be honest—with me and with yourself. Tell me what you want and I will give it to you.” Cloud spoke in a low whisper.

“I just—well, I just wanted to look at you. Admire you.”

“Admire me?”

“You are so very... pretty.”

“You’re telling me you’ve been hanging around here all week just to check out my heavenly ass?”

“Not just your ass. Your face, too. And your hair—it is like the sun. I have never seen eyes like yours. And your wings are so... fluffy.”

Cloud fluttered them suddenly, a few loose feathers drifting to the floor. But when he settled, one of his wings draped over Sephiroth's shoulders. Sephiroth couldn’t help it—and he didn’t ask, but he had to touch them. They were soft—oddly soft—more like a rabbit’s fur than a chocobo’s feathers. Cloud sighed softly at the touch.

Fluffy,” he purred. “So. What is your prayer?”

“I already told you I am not religious.”

“I’m not asking you if you’re religious. It’s irrelevant. You’re here—before your god—and I am asking you what you desire.”

“If you really are a god, you should know that, too,” Sephiroth countered, feeling pretty clever.

“Hmm. I see. Well, I will grant your request. I’d like to grant you your heart’s desire.”

“Do gods of strife even do that sort of thing? I would have thought you were more, I don’t know, like a god of war or something.”

“Well, there have been times when I was exactly that. I’ve also been a delivery god. These days, I’m hoping to make a name for myself as a benevolent god who cares for my followers’ happiness. Change is possible, you know. For example, you don’t have to belong to Shinra for the rest of your life. Perhaps winning the war is enough.”

“What else would I do?” Sephiroth had never considered he could be anything else.

“Sephiroth,” Cloud urged, placing his hand on the younger man’s knee. Sephiroth’s skin tingled with warmth beneath the god’s fingers. It shivered up and down his legs in a distracting way, lighting up his groin. “I’ve seen many things in my long life. I’ve seen many other universes. I saw you in those universes as well. You’ve been a teacher, a researcher, a doctor, a businessman, an inventor, a traveler, a farmer... you’ve been many things. And all of those occupations made you happier than being Shinra’s guard dog.”

“I’m not a—”

“Shush. I’m only saying you could be much happier. Shall I show you?”

“All right,” Sephiroth agreed after a little hesitation. 

Cloud leaned even closer, cupping Sephiroth’s chin. His fingers were soft and warm, buzzing with some sort of secret power. The young general swallowed nervously and considered pulling away. The air between them crackled with electricity as if Cloud were about to cast a spell. Of course, Sephiroth was always armed with an amulet to counter any status spells.

“Relax. I’m not going to hurt you. No one needs to ever hurt you again, Sephiroth.”

Beneath his slender build, strength that defied the god’s stature turned Sephiroth to face him. He pulled the younger man into his lap and kissed him on the lips.

Sephiroth had seen people kiss before. Lots of times—Genesis and Angeal had extended “make-out” sessions while in less-occupied transport. Sephiroth had always thought it would be slightly disgusting. He wasn’t averse to bodily fluids—that was beaten from him years ago in the lab. He just had never understood the appeal—at least, not until this very moment.

This was completely unexpected. This was warm and affectionate—and kind. His body softened under the touch and melted against Cloud. He felt so safe even as an unknown sensation pulsed through his veins and pounded in his ears. His vision shifted—narrow slit pupils dilating. And heat continued to pool in his groin. It was unbelievable. A soft gasping sigh spilled from his lips.

Cloud hummed into the kiss and tilted his head to deepen it. His free hand caressed Sephiroth’s throat before sliding behind his head, gently fisting a handful of silver hair. The gentle grip brought them closer, settling the younger man fully into his lap. Sephiroth thought Cloud smelled even better up close—and tasted sweet—and he couldn’t close his eyes. Cloud’s eyes glowed more brightly now, and he smiled against Sephiroth’s mouth. 

Cloud’s tongue slipped into Sephiroth’s mouth, stroking and caressing, sending shivers of pleasure down his spine. He had no idea a kiss could feel like this—electric—as if something physical connected them. When he finally pulled away, Cloud’s lips are curved up in a sweet smile—making him look very young.

He was impossibly captivating.

“Are you interested in more?” Cloud offered. He licked his lips, lust covering his expression.

The way he admired the general was so different from any previous experience. Sephiroth understood his looks were unusual and compelling to others. While he was not a celebrity, his visage was familiar and well-known throughout Shinra and the military. He’d been on the receiving side of many lust-filled, longing glances, but they had always made him uncomfortable. Perhaps because Sephiroth found Cloud equally fascinating and gorgeous, the lust-filled glance was welcome. At any rate, Cloud’s expression reflected Sephiroth’s emotions.

It was strange and unfamiliar, but Sephiroth nodded his head.

“I’ll need a verbal answer, kiddo,” Cloud murmured.

“Please,” Sephiroth begged—shocked by the soft plea in his broken voice.

With that, Cloud stood up and pulled the younger man to his feet. Again, the hidden power behind his movements was utterly captivating and compelling. Cloud kept Sephiroth’s hand in his while Sephiroth marveled at the soft, smooth, and smaller hand. When Cloud laced his fingers through Sephiroth’s, his experience and confidence could be felt behind the grip.

Sephiroth followed him mindlessly, ignoring everything but that magical, gliding walk. The silk of his robe whispered against his legs. The blonde led them to a bedroom. A fluffy futon rested in the center of the room on the floor. Cloud guided the young general to sit down on it, facing him, and moved his hands to the straps that held his pauldrons in place.

“Is this all right, Sephiroth?”

He nodded, but Cloud shook his head.

“Verbal, please. I’m asking for your consent.”

“Yes, please. I consent,” Sephiroth managed, ignoring the desperation building up inside his body.

The younger man understood how sex worked, but he’d never experienced it with another person. He’d thought he’d be anxious or nervous, but Cloud’s confidence made him feel safe and secure. As Cloud slowly removed Sephiroth’s uniform, he flattened his hands against his body, maximizing touch—through his shirt and pants and then soon, underneath the fabric and against bare skin. Each touch carried a subtle electrical charge that went straight to Sephiroth’s heart.

“Lie back,” Cloud said, rising to his feet. Sephiroth obeyed but couldn’t look away when Cloud untied his obi and let the silk robe slide off his shoulders.

Sephiroth had seen the blonde naked before—while bathing, sleeping, sometimes even doing chores around the shrine. But never so close. Sparse golden hair covered his arms and legs, with a slightly denser tuft of curls at the base of his cock. Speaking of which—he was aroused and much larger than Sephiroth had expected.

“You’re beautiful,” Cloud said, mirroring Sephiroth’s thoughts exactly. 

The young general’s skin reached out for his embrace. He wanted more. He wanted the blonde.

“You haven’t done this before,” the god said. “I’ll take it slow and easy, but please tell me if you dislike anything I do. I want to lavish you with the love you’ve been missing, press your humanity into your skin, and show you what your life could be.”

He dropped to his knees and spread Sephiroth’s muscular thighs, running his fingers from his knees to his groin. His touch was firm enough not to tickle, but the sensation sent shivers throughout the younger man’s body. His heart raced, but he was not afraid. Sephiroth didn’t think his erection had ever felt so firm and full, a slight pulling sensation heavy in his balls. Once again, Sephiroth wondered if the blonde had cast a spell of some kind.

“Relax.”

Cloud ran his hands up and down Sephiroth’s body, combing through his long hair and leaning forward to capture his lips once more. This time, he pressed his weight against the younger man’s, and the feeling was much hotter than his fingers alone. His hands were warm, but his torso felt hot—and when their cocks pressed together, it seared enough to pull out a vulgar moan which Sephiroth failed to bite back.

“I want to hear you,” Cloud whispered. “It lets me know what you like. So relax and let me enjoy you.”

Cloud covered every inch of the general’s skin with caresses and kisses, enjoying him in a way that made Sephiroth feel human—wanted and desired. The younger man didn’t understand how much he craved touch and longed for it, his desire as desperate as a man lost in the desert seeking water.

The god enjoyed how compliant and eager Sephiroth was beneath him. There was no judgment or shame, only desire and longing. As Cloud continued to devour Sephiroth, the younger man carded his fingers through blonde spikes, down fluffy wings, and across smooth skin. When Sephiroth gently scratched the juncture where his wings connected to his shoulders, Cloud let out a sexy sigh.

Sephiroth’s skin shivered with goosebumps at the sound—it felt truly magical. He wanted to hear more from the god, make him come alive with lust and pleasure. But more than anything, Sephiroth longed for connection with someone who saw him for who he was, not who he was supposed to be.

Occasionally, Cloud would check in to make sure Sephiroth was enjoying himself. He also gently asked for permission when he pulled a jar of lube from beneath the futon, slicking up his fingers and ghosting over Sephiroth’s hole. Sephiroth had unpleasant memories from his days in the lab involving intrusive and painful procedures, but when he felt Cloud’s fingers, he sighed in pleasure.

“I trust you.” The way he spoke the words was soft and genuine, and it broke Cloud’s heart a little.

He looked down at Sephiroth. He didn’t look nervous—but surely, he must have been.

“Just relax,” Cloud suggested. “Let’s discover what you like.”

Cloud ached to show Sephiroth his humanity and introduce him to physical intimacy. It was a chance to touch Sephiroth’s soul and show him care and kindness in a way that no one had ever bothered to do before. Well, perhaps his friends cared about him. But Sephiroth wasn’t attracted to them in the same way.

Each touch was heady and send a subtle vibration through both of their bodies—a call and response. Cloud enjoyed watching his fingers trace the definition of Sephiroth’s muscles—his abs, his chest, his arms. And he enjoyed watching goosebumps trail down the pale skin.

“You can touch me, too,” Cloud murmured. 

In an instant, Sephiroth reached out to his hair, carding his fingers through the soft spikes. He traced the sculpted muscles under sun-kissed skin.

“You are so beautiful,” Sephiroth whispered. “So much strength is hidden in your body—I have watched you swim and practice your forms with the sword. You move with such grace and elegance.”

Cloud hummed, sitting himself down on Sephiroth’s hips, deliberately distributing his weight to apply friction to the erection that insistently pushed against him. He swallowed Sephiroth’s moan with a kiss, enjoying the taste of his mouth. 

“If you enjoy something, tell me,” Cloud said.

“I, um, I like kissing you. And I like your weight right there.”

Cloud kept up with the kissing, running his fingers through long silver strands of hair. Not as long yet as it would be, Cloud noticed. It was down to the middle of Sephiroth’s back and silky soft. With amusement and lust building in his body, Cloud was pleased to see Sephiroth’s eyes dilate to rounded pupils.

“You are gorgeous,” Cloud hummed, resting his hands on Sephiroth’s chest. As he was now, Sephiroth was a few inches taller than Cloud, but his body would continue to grow and develop. They were almost even in size, both slender and muscular—lean, rather than bulky. It felt good—touching the man who was his arch-nemesis in another world and enjoying every moment.

Touching for the sake of making your partner feel good, or even simply enjoying the feel of your partner’s body, both were new concepts to Sephiroth. He’d barely gotten used to an occasional hug from his friends and had finally stopped flinching from comrades’ casual shoulder slaps. This was different. This felt right and easy—if quite overwhelming.

“I’m going to prepare you now,” Cloud said. “Do you understand how this works?”

“Yes. Genesis says it’s better to use more lube and more time preparing.”

“Genesis is wise,” Cloud said softly. Part of him could hardly imagine what was about to come—but the thought of seeing Sephiroth coming undone with pleasure throbbed in his mind. Guiding the younger man to bend his knees, he warmed the lubricant in his fingers and gently, gently ghosted his fingers across Sephiroth’s entrance. A small, surprised jump startled him, and Cloud used his other hand to stroke his erection. For that, he received a soft gasp in reward. Cloud set himself the goal to make Sephiroth make noise. It wasn’t long before he had two fingers in Sephiroth’s ass and was pulling loud pleasured sighs from him. Sephiroth seemed to struggle with relaxing enough to let the sounds come.

“It’s okay,” Cloud assured him. “Let me hear you. I love the sound of your voice.”

Sephiroth hummed in response when Cloud added another finger. The pleasure of his prostate being stroked so gently was new to him. He’d had this done before in the labs, finding it intrusive and overwhelming. He hadn’t thought he’d ever be in a place to enjoy it. And he was delighted.

Cloud was careful to use gentle soothing touches, aware of Sephiroth’s lack of experience. With his fingers stimulating Sephiroth inside, Cloud sat back and lowered his mouth onto Sephiroth’s erection. The younger man gasped in surprise but changed to a low keening sound when the warmth of Cloud’s mouth enveloped him. He’d already been hard enough to burst—and just that simple touch was enough to make him climax unexpectedly.

Heat and pleasure burst through his body—unlike anything he’d experienced on his own (or worse, in the labs). It warmed his fingers and toes, made his lips and the tips of his ears tingle. Relaxation pulsed through his body chasing the pleasure as Cloud swallowed his release, shaking Sephiroth to his core. The blood stayed in his ears and cheeks, and he knew he was blushing.

“Oh,” he said, embarrassed. “That was too soon. I’m sorry.”

“Don’t apologize, Sephiroth,” Cloud murmured, smiling down at the blushing man. “You did well.”

“But what about—”

“Hush,” Cloud said. “You will be more relaxed now. And you’re enhanced. It’s not like you can’t come a second time.”

“Okay,” Sephiroth replied, still relaxed and feeling vulnerable.

“May I enter you?” Cloud asked.

“Please.”

Cloud folded Sephiroth’s knees up against his chest and lined himself up. 

“Take a deep breath in and release it.”

Sephiroth complied, feeling a little nervous about the heat hovering just outside his hole. When he exhaled, he felt the stretch of Cloud’s cock breaching his entrance, but it didn’t hurt. It was pleasurable, especially when Cloud bottomed out. Sephiroth felt Cloud’s balls against his ass, and it was a heady feeling. His body was a conduit—connecting him to a god, connecting the planet with the heavenly realm—and the ecstasy was overwhelming.

Considering Sephiroth’s first time, Cloud rocked his hips a few times before pulling out and thrusting back in. Everything part of Sephiroth longed for touch, and Cloud felt a deep ache in his chest when he experienced Sephiroth’s desperate loneliness. To respond to those feelings, Cloud reached out with his powers. It worked like a spell, shimmering across the air with a soft golden glow, surrounding Sephiroth’s body, and warming the space between them.

Sephiroth widened his eyes, feeling an invisible tug on his heart. His loneliness escaped across the bond and brought tears to his eyes. He squeezed his eyes shut to soothe the burn but found he was unable to look away from Cloud, who fucked him gently while caressing him. As if he was trying to press their connection into him—a connection to the planet, to himself, to his body—Cloud used his power to soothe.

Overwhelmed by the experience, Sephiroth hadn’t thought a sexual interaction could instill this sort of emotional bond. And he loved it—he craved it—and he wanted more. Soon, he found himself begging for it, his cock hard and throbbing a second time. Cloud’s face softened to something unfamiliar—affection and love. This was what Cloud wanted. It was also Sephiroth’s heart’s desire. He just hadn’t realized it.

Each thrust sent a wave of pleasure through his body, and Sephiroth was awed by the lust on Cloud’s face. He looked gorgeous—powerful and sexy. His eyes glowed with golden light, his pupils dilated, his wings spread out to the side. How could he look so human in that divine form?

Soon, Sephiroth was begging again—pleading for release. Cloud wasn’t one to deny pleasure, and he dropped a hand and squeezed Sephiroth’s cock. A loud moan spilled from his lips, as Sephiroth climaxed again. His insides clenched around Cloud’s cock—so hard that Cloud had to slow down. He worked Sephiroth through his orgasm and then came himself, spilling deep inside.

When Cloud’s release flooded his body, Sephiroth felt something inside him shift. Pleasure so intense it was almost painful heated him from his core. It felt good, but it was strange and foreign. Like a snake shedding a skin, Sephiroth felt the darker, damaged parts of him stripped away, leaving him painfully vulnerable in a new, soft shell.

Cloud came to a stop, pulling out of Sephiroth slowly and lying down next to him. Displaying his physical power, he pulled Sephiroth close, kissing his forehead and cheeks before pressing their bodies together. Sephiroth was still catching his breath, his cheeks and nose flushed with effort and pleasure. Cloud’s eyes had glazed over with affection, and he ran his fingers through Sephiroth’s hair.

“It’s all right,” he whispered. “You’re all right. You’re safe here.”

Sephiroth was confused by the words at first—but then he noticed his cheeks were damp. His eyes weren’t stinging anymore, either. Cloud gently wiped away the tears. When was the last time Sephiroth had cried? He couldn’t remember, but his heart felt better for it. And he loved being here—for the first time in his life he felt happy to be alive, thankful to be alive.

After a few mostly silent, tender moments, Cloud spoke again.

“You can stay here. With me. If you want to.”

Sephiroth opened his eyes and glanced at Cloud. The words were confusing.

“The war is over. You’ve done enough. Do you want to continue living at Shinra’s beck and call for the rest of your life? Stay with me.”

“They won’t let me go so easily,” Sephiroth muttered.

“They can’t take you back. Not if you’re with me. They cannot come onto the grounds unless I permit them.”

“What?”

“The shrine and the river are under a protection spell. It works like a shield. Only those I allow can cross the barrier. I will not allow Shinra to harm you.”

“You would... let me stay here?”

“I want you to stay with me.”

“Why?”

“Sephiroth. Sometimes it’s okay to just want something for the sake of wanting it. I want you. I have watched you in many lifetimes. I treasure you. I will cherish you. And you will keep me company.”

A god, Sephiroth realized. Cloud was an actual god. He had more power than Sephiroth would ever have. And Cloud wanted him. He desired him. He couldn’t believe it. His heart lifted, tentatively. He’d been hurt and used many times before, but he’d felt Cloud’s emotions. They were real. 

“Plus, you’re a damn good fuck,” Cloud said.

Sephiroth chuckled despite himself. 

“You’re not so bad yourself,” he admitted, allowing the embarrassment to creep into his voice.

“Well, I have had millennia to practice. This was only your first time.” Cloud touched Sephiroth’s back gently. “So, will you stay with me?”

“All right,” Sephiroth said. 

“Good. Would you like me to accompany you to explain the arrangement to your commanders?”

“Yes. They do not believe you exist.”

Cloud laughed.

“Well, let’s clear that right up. We can rest a little while first. Then we can take the next step.”

“Thank you,” Sephiroth said, softly into Cloud’s chest.

“You don’t need to thank me. I’ve done nothing you haven’t been worthy of or that you don’t deserve.”

“Still. Thank you.”

Cloud hummed softly.

“Maybe I’ll let you make it up to me if you’re so inclined,” Cloud whispered, nipping Sephiroth’s ear playfully.