The black comb, dripping with water, was brought up to his lips.
"Testing. One. Two. Fuckin' ten. Can you hear me?"
That was the spoken beginning of song 'Actually', number four on Mega Decision, the first and only CD released by Anal Orgasm, circa 1977, and Cloud's favorite band of all time.
Standing naked in front of the bathroom mirror, soaking wet head to toe, he sang along with his favorite song while fixing his hair. He could hear his mother's warning: "This is FIF- teeeeen gil Clow. I'm putting it on the table. It is for a haircut, and a haircut only! It is not for snacks! It is not for a movie! It is not for a magazine! It is not for a new record! It is for a haircut, Jesus H. Fucking Christ Almighty!"
He was not getting a haircut.
"You're getting your I.D. picture today Clow! Sweet Baby Jesus help me if you don't get a fucking haircut I am NOT taking you to Midgar and that is a promise!"
He was not getting a haircut.
"I'll save on gas money Clow! I don't NEED to take the day off work, drive for eternity and back so you can join the FUCKING army!"
Picturing his mother's stern glare and pointed finger had made a grin spread across his mouth like a rash then and now. He was not getting that fucking haircut, sorry Sweet Baby Jesus.
Once his spikes were perfected, he hopped with the beat over to his jeans and not bothering with underwear, pulled them up over his hips. It had been exactly one hour since his "change". He had been thinking about it for weeks, planning, trying to feel out when the time was right.
He could not go to the academy as his old self. He wanted to get away from Nibelheim for a goddamn reason. Shy and sensitive. Fucking doormat? No more!
Exactly one hour ago, he had stood in front of the open bathroom door. He knew he would not come out of the bathroom the same. Now or never. Growth was going to occur. Cloud Strife was going to turn himself inside out. He was going to be everything he wanted to be and more.
A wave of unexpected grief crept up into his mind from behind and he tried to think of something to say to his old life. Something epic.
Once he stepped over the threshold onto the tile he had stayed there for several long moments. He slowly turned on the water. He slowly took off his clothes. A life full of new possibilities was laying in front of him.
He did the only thing he could think to do.
He masturbated. No, not just masturbated.
Not the quick, bashfully jerking hand movements in the dead of night that ended with an uncomfortable mess, a heart full of shame, and eyes full of lonely tears.
He fucked himself. Good.
He didn't even think about anything. No spank bank material was called upon in his mind. He just watched himself in the mirror leaning against the tub, groaning with no shame, hands running over his body, and urging himself on verbally. Unwittingly, Cloud had fucked himself.
After that was done with, he decided to make life ever the more worth living by putting his favorite record on full blast. Then he opened the ground level window, inviting the town and perhaps the world to hear his music and view his satisfying nudity. It was all he had to offer at that moment. His essence. He was spreading his awesome like peanut butter on toasty bread. It felt damn good.
The only person who dared to look into the window had been the neighbor, and she had simply stood up like a meerkat in her vegetable garden and looked his way, squinting and pushing up her bonnet. Cloud was sitting in the tub with a head full of shampoo at that moment. Their eyes locked and Cloud waved heartily. She quickly turned around and went inside.
He checked himself out presently. Skinny maybe. But sexily so. He was skinny in a way that Benjy, the singer from Anal Orgasm was skinny. Long limbs. Pleasant features. Adequate penis for his age. Cloud turned around to examine his ass. The jeans made it look inviting.
Coming out of the closet was apart of the plan. Cloud looked into his own eyes. The courage to not get a haircut, to be more outgoing, to look at his own naked body was there. The courage to live as a gay man? He wasn't certain he had the courage to live as a man in general. A gay man.
He was a gay, gay, gay man.
He looked at his face. Big blue puppy dog eyes. Small, unremarkable nose. The mouth was where the party was at, in his opinion. He pouted, then smiled coyly, then turned to the side a bit, flirting with himself. It was a good mouth to have. His hair framed it all in, bringing it from a little boy something to maybe something more edgy and interesting.
"I'm hot," He declared to himself.
Lifetime of Ridicule immediately and intensely argued that statement. Too small! Too skinny! Uninteresting! Boring! Stupid hair! Dumb face! Flat Ass!
Flat ass? Who had said that? He looked at it again. It was not flat!
"I may be skinny but I'm not boring! My hair isn't stupid! My face is not dumb! My ass is round and pleasing!"
"You called?" He said saucily to Lifetime of Ridicule and he stretched his shirt over his head. It was a plain black tight wife beater. He pulled on his shoes, retro Nikes in bright neon pink and green.
He was a sexual sight to behold. Skin tight jeans, no underwear, understated black beater, and big gay colorful shoes. His mother didn't know he owned any of this clothing. He had in fact, never worn them outside his room. This was the fucking style in Midgar. Hip! Punk! Fashion Forward! He was gonna fit in at Midgar! He was gonna smoke and, and, and get tattooed and meet other people who listened to Anal Orgasm and, and learn how to fucking fight dirty and … He gasped. Meet Sephiroth.
"Mr. General …" Cloud cooed softly, putting his fingers up to his lips, "I've never seen one of those before …"
Faaaaagooooooot… Lifetime of Ridicule was sounding farther and farther away.
Cloud laughed and pulled up the needle on the record player. "Brrrmmp!" went 'Target Boy', number eight on the best record ever.
He stepped outside, the sunshine warming his bare shoulders and bouncing off his hair. The feel of the jeans, and the general easiness of his mood had even changed his walk. Normally it was rushed, hunched, leaning forward in a hurry on an errand or just trying to get back inside somewhere safe and bully-free.
Suddenly, he had turned into a pair of hips on a set of long legs. One hand in his pocket, the other running along whatever was nearby. Flowers, a fence, a car. He leaned back in his stride, enjoying everything around him, absently wondering what to blow the fifteen gil on. It was early in the day, everyone his age was in school, everyone who wasn't was toiling at their jobs, everyone too young or too old to fall into those categories was off his radar. The town was his.
He continued his stroll past the gates of town, down the path beyond, and he could see a red tent set up. He was the only young man to sign up from this town, so he agreed to come early in the day for his ID and briefing so they could leave sooner. He hadn't expected a whole tent set up just for him.
Excited, he increased his speed into a little trot. When he saw a young man in the tent tapping his foot in mock impatience, Cloud smiled.
He trotted quickly up to the man and saluted. A gorgeous man. The man saluted back to him with a smile.
"Name?" He asked, looking at a clip board.
"Let me see if I can find you. Oh yes," He made an exaggerated checkmark and turned the board around. Cloud's name was the only thing on the paper. "Where the hell are all the strapping young men in this town?"
Cloud shrugged with a goofy smile. Then his confidence altered a bit as the big gorgeous military man eyed him up and down. 'Don't do it to yourself Cloud', he thought to himself, 'you're different now.' Cloud took a moment to observe the tent. A wall to stand in front of for a picture, it was plain but with a sheet thrown over it that had the Shin-Ra logo on it. A little pop up table with a laptop and a camera on it, and two chairs. Cloud turned his gaze back to the military man, who was still smiling.
"I expected some back woodsy kid, you're pretty cool," The man said with a big grin.
Cloud, in a gesture completely alien to him, extended a hand. The other man's grin got even wider as he took it, and then shook harder than was polite, shaking Cloud around, the two laughing good naturedly.
"To business, because I want to go get drunk at some point today, I am First Class SOLDIER Zack Fair," He said, pointing to himself. "You're Cloud Strife, and I need to take your picture … For your badge," He turned and was fishing through a box noisily.
Whoa. "What class?" Cloud asked with a disbelieving shake of his head.
Zack, without turning around, held up one finger. "Uno, my friend. I can't believe it either," He said with little interest, continuing to scatter around whatever was in the box on the pop up table.
"Sir! You came all the way out here just for me! I'm so, so-" He stammered and then took in the beauty of Zack's backside as he rummaged through the box on the floor. He had dark hair escaping in every direction, rivaling Cloud's own in randomness. Hot body, but that was to be expected from a military man. Tan skin. Gorgeous features.
Cloud now looked at him in profile. A whole new list of reasons why he was beautiful emerged.
A hunk of a man. A big hearty piece of a man. Men from Nibelheim just didn't look that good. He faintly recalled a desperate, years long crush on the town butcher. His looks were nothing special at all, but the way he chopped steak really turned Cloud on. That's what Nibelheim had to offer.
"Here it is!" Zack held up a USB cord, and plugged it triumphantly into the camera, "Don't worry about all that. One on one get-to-know-you's are so much better than a crowd anyways. Go stand there." He pointed to the wall.
Cloud went to it. "So uh, like. What do I do?"
"But it's like a … Thing. Do I need to keep my face neutral?"
"You're supposed to smile. For the birdie?" He lifted the camera up to his eye with a ridiculous look smeared across his face. Cloud laughed. Flash!
"You can't look until I print it." Zack stated in a dead serious voice. Cloud stood a little more at attention at the sound of it and waited. In a moment a card popped out of the back of the laptop with a 'moo' sound effect.
Zack hooked a lanyard onto it and gave it to him. Cloud was smiling handsomely and scrunching his shoulders and with a slight tilt of his head to the side, dimples on show and laughter in his eyes. It was an incredible picture of himself. "Pretty cute, Cloud!" Zack laughed.
Cloud was about to agree when he noticed Zack's badge hooked to the waist of his pants. His face, a smile seeming so natural for it, was stone cold serious.
Cloud's jaw dropped. Zack leaned in, "Easy way to tell first years!" he grinned with a clap to the side of Cloud's neck.
"Son of a … Zaaaack make another one!" Cloud whined.
Zack pointed to a sign that he himself had taken the time to hang. 'ONLY ONE BADGE ISSUED PER CADET, PER YEAR.'
Cloud, in his old life would have pouted, or walked away, or made a fuss. Instead, keeping his eyes on Zack's, put the badge around his neck, "I look good anyways!"
Cloud trotted back into town with a happy smile on his face. A fucking friend. He made a friend out of a first class SOLDIER. The hours flew by and the talked well beyond the briefing, Zack promising to find Cloud when school started and get him into some of the weekend seminars he himself taught.
A friend. A cute friend!
He hooked into the town store, fifteen gil still burning a hole in his back pocket. Most of his punk or electro records had to be ordered online. They never had anything but CDs of country or folk or a limited selection of blah. He went down the magazine aisle, hoping for something that wouldn't tease him with news of concerts or new video games. In two weeks time he wouldn't have room in his life for that anymore. He popped the gum Zack had given to him.
Then his eyes roamed across a vision of loveliness. There, in high resolution, full front cover, was a close up of … He seized the magazine and clutched it face down into his chest. He didn't want to inspect it here. Home. In bed. Naked, horny, and at his own leisure.
Then a voice of reason and responsibility broke into his spanky plans. There on the briefing list of things to bring … The option of an Mp3 player. He thought of Anal Orgasm. Then he pictured his inches thick binder of CDs and records. No option to haul off a record player or a stereo. Mp3 player to hold all that music … Not so cheap.
Could he handle years … Years with no music? To save up that money would take years. He'd be spending his allowance on fresh socks and toothpaste … Not records or retro old school Nikes or the usual shit. Mom was already going to be pissed he hadn't gotten a haircut. But fifteen perfectly spend able gil blown on spank bank? Then he recalled his hazy mind's eye recollection of the cover of this erotic TimeWeek magazine, not daring to look until he wasn't wearing such tight jeans.
'This TimeWeek. This issue I must own,' Cloud told himself.
He took it to the counter, not looking when Mr. Pesely flipped it right side up to scan the barcode and slip it into a bag, "Catching up on the news, Cloud?" he asked with no real interest.
"Yessir. When I get to the military I'd like to have an opinion on ya know. Shit that's going down."
"Good boy." He said without skipping a beat.
"This too please," Cloud said suddenly, enticed by the candy bars.
One stupid gil left … "Another?"
Cloud spat out the gum and started chewing on a candy bar, walking home to wallow, too distressed about money to think about his sexy new purchase. Fucking Catch 22! Desirable things must be owned! That's why they're put on this planet! To entice young boys with some pocket money ...
"Hahahahaha! Look at the faggot!"
Cloud realized he was being talked about, "Did you just call me a faggot?"
Ronny. Ugly, Ronny. Ugly, fat, idiot face Ronny. His stupid crooked teeth. His flat hair. Ronny, the usual sack of shit and his ever changing group of nameless little kid followers sat a little lower than Cloud in a ditch, apparently thinking about forming a league, because all were holding baseball bats.
"Yeah. You see any other faggots around here? Hahahahahaha!" His fat face jiggled as he laughed.
Cloud thought about that while chewing into his candy bar again, "You know I'm going to the military soon right?"
"Yeah. You think you're special or something?"
"No, no. See, I hear the military is just chock full of faggots … And since you have such a nice, fat ass, maybe I could practice on you before I go?" Cloud chewed on his candy bar sweetly.
Ronny was speechless. "… No!" He spat out dumbly. The smaller kids looked at each other muttering. They knew words. Words like 'haha' and 'faggot'. And 'haha' plus 'faggot' usually equaled more 'haha'. But all those words were said and there was no more 'haha'. It was a mathematical mystery that none of them felt like solving.
"Stay out of my sexy face, Ronny. I'll kick your ass up and down this street. You know I can do it or else you wouldn't be the preschool teacher." Cloud saluted with his candy bar. He was done with this scene, for good.
He was ready for a soon to be pleasure fest extravaganza scene. Buyer's remorse long gone, he made his way home.
High School apparently was out. Ronny lurking around meant nothing, he rarely attended. But an all too familiar form was walking in his direction. Every inch of her had been studied way more that any textbook he ever owned.
She was all developing tits and shortening skirts and knee socks and long legs and high heels. All innocence and colorful bra straps and exposed bellybuttons and giggles. It was enough to make a gay man hurt. Shouldn't he want this? Didn't he used to? Did he really ever?
She stopped with a smile, "Hey. Weird without you in class."
Weird? "Don't pretend you miss me, bitch," He said with a genuine smile.
Her eyes crawled all over his body as if she never knew he had one before, "When do you leave?"
"Little less than two weeks," He said. "You want?" He offered her one of his candy bars.
"Thanks …" She said, her hands lingering over his. Oh GOD. "Cloud, I'll miss you."
His blood boiled at that. NOW she missed him? A breeze passed over him, hitting his new purchase into the back of his leg as if it was an anxious lover telling him to wrap it up, "Don't worry Tifa. Your tits will be here soon. I'm sure you'll find some lucky guy to knock them around. Enjoy the candy bar."
His core shook violently as he tried his best to walk away coolly and not laugh or beg for forgiveness. He had written off two of the major players in his childhood in less than five minutes. Un-FUCKING-believable, as his mother would often say. His stride turned into a jog when he neared his house, busting through the door before he accidentally told his elderly neighbors to hurry up and croak.
Cloud shrank back immediately. School's out. That means Mom is indeed home.
"No haircut. Oh big surprise! A magazine!" she ripped it from his casual grip and pulled it out, eyes instantly wide with disbelief at the title.
"I just … Wanted to get caught up in current affairs, mom," She was looking at the cover for longer than necessary than looked at Cloud.
"You look … Really good," She sighed. "But where the fuck did those shoes crawl out from?" She put the magazine back into the bag of candy bar wrappers and handed it back to him.
A moment passed. In that moment Cloud visibly grew before her eyes. She knew she was speaking to a young man. Not a little boy, not anymore.
"Lemme see your picture. Oh CLOUD! Christ you look so cute!" She laughed gleefully. "I'm calling up fucking Shin-Ra and ordering some 8x10's!"
Cloud smiled pulling the ID back and looked into her almost identical eyes. Softly he said, "When my second year comes around … I'll send it to you. I'll need a new one."
Another moment passed, "Well mister lemme see your list. Put me … Put me in the fucking poor house with this military SHIT," She managed to say very softly and lovingly.
"Hey mom look! It says I can brinnnnng …" He tapped the list three times, "An Mp3 playerrrrrr …" He wiggled his fingers in her face, trying to hypnotize her.
"Of course you can bring one!" She answered mock enthusiastically, "But get a job and earn quick before you go."
His soul left his body. Bashful for asking, he started rattling off the other things on the list. Toothbrush, underwear, socks, uniforms are provided.
She looked him up and down. "How many gigs you think you'll need?"
Planning and talking and eating dinner and trying every second of that time to work his way up to his room, the night dwindled on. Grateful for the miracle of motherly guilt and not wanting her to change her mind about the Mp3 player, he decided to swing it into full on son mode. Dishes were done. Feet were massaged. Kisses were plentiful.
All the while a little plastic bag kept saying THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. Thanks for buying me and keeping me cooped up in this bag! Thanks for not letting me pleasure you, Cloud! Thanks a fucking lot for offering to do the dishes!
The clock struck eight PM. Cloud yawned heartily and his mother took notice of the odd action, "You have to get up early for anything tomorrow, Clow?"
He rubbed his eyes, "No. But I got up early today for the orientation thing. Kinda done in."
"Why don't you stay and watch Real World: Costa Del Sol with me?" The look on Cloud's face was enough to make her laugh the way only a smoker can, "Go upstairs you little bastard! Go read something! Listen to music! Get out of my face!"
He grabbed the THANK YOU THANK YOU bag and was gone in an instant. But then returned to plant a firm kiss on her cheek, then disappeared up the stairs once more.
He closed his door and the jeans were peeled off and replaced by drawstring gray sweats. Beater came off too. He laid down in bed, prepared to withdraw the magazine.
But then he moved more pillows behind him, and snuggled down farther into his comforter. He caught his reflection in the mirror and he had a shit-eating grin on his face. The anticipation was delicious.
He took out the magazine, facing away from him. Then, ever so slowly, turned it around. A sound escaped his throat as he let his eyes drink in the vision.
Every centimeter of the picture was observed in reverence.
His hair. It shined of it's own accord, not playing by the rules of the lighting in the rest of the picture. Every strand was visible, from the perfectly white root to where it was cut off by the cruelty of the picture's border. Some strands were dark silver, some a more creamy white … But all looked touchably soft. It looked like it smelled good. 'Oh Sephiroth, what shampoo do you use?'
His eyes. The eyebrows were also white, and Cloud happily noticed, there was no unsightly unibrow. They were almost dainty in and of themselves, a feminine touch to the man's face. His eyelashes were incredibly long and full, jet black despite the silvery hair. There was a heavy shadow from his lashes on his eyes themselves, darkening them and making then all the more intense. The green they were did not exist. The color was too beautiful, too perfect to come from nature. Cloud looked at them for a long time, making out the faint details of small flecks of yellow and dark blue around the pupil. The mystery of his pupils themselves finally solved to Cloud. A cat's. A shiver ran down his arms at the thought. A cat's. 'Oh Sephiroth, how did you get such sexpot eyes?'
His nose. Pleasant, a gentle slope. Masculine, but not overly so. Cloud was relieved to see that, unlike some of the men in Nibelheim, his nose had almost no visible pores. The unwanted recollection of one of his past teachers emerged, whose nose almost resembled a strawberry. 'Oh Sephiroth, do you use pore minimizing facial scrub?'
Looking even more closely, Cloud's heart delighted in the detail of a very small indent on the underside of Sephiroth's nose.
"That's the spot..." Cloud whispered out loud, touching it lightly.
"What spot?" Sephiroth asked, scrunching his nose.
'That's the spot where I'll kiss you when you're grumpy. It'll make you smile every single time,' Cloud thought.
"Oh," Sephiroth replied, hiking one white eyebrow gently.
His mouth. It was wide and soft and – Gulp, sensual. His bottom lip was full, his top lip a little less, both perhaps a shade or two darker than his skin, plus a faint black cherry tint. The indents in the corners of his mouth were deep, and lilting up slightly into a demure smile. The picture teased Cloud by showing the perfect texture of his lips in detail. The skin just slightly cracked in the middle of his bottom lip. Perfectly kissable. 'Oh Sephiroth-'
"Shut up and kiss me," He interrupted gruffly.
Cloud touched his lips to the cover of TimeWeek, covering up the General's. It was wholly unsatisfying. He closed his eyes and opted for his hand, the softness of his own skin – Er, Sephiroth's lips much better than glossy paper.
He kissed Sephiroth deeply, gently flicking his tongue against his hand. He ran a hand up into his hair, the softness good to the touch, and pulled slightly.
Sephiroth ran his hands down Cloud's chest, fingers tickling over his belly button before teasingly running his fingers across the waistband of his pants.
Looking into Cloud's eyes, Sephiroth tugged gently, easing the drawstring apart, then pulled roughly up on the pants, loosening them up.
"Cloud, I want to suck your cock," The General announced.
Cloud sputtered out loud. What do you say to that?
"… Don't say anything," Sephiroth advised, pushing against Cloud's chest, lying him down farther.
Sephiroth tugged the pants down below his hips and ran his hands over the top of Cloud's thighs.
"Laundry?" Sephiroth asked breathily, flicking out his tongue momentarily to barely touch the end of Cloud's proud little erection.
"Laundry call!" Sephiroth said loudly.
Cloud's eyes jerked open and he froze. He took the magazine off of his face and looked around in a lusty daze. The magazine tumbled clumsily to the floor. His mother looked at the scene with pure innocence. She had been busting in on him during his private time too many instances to count. Perhaps she was sparing him humiliation, but she never seemed to grasp what was going on.
"Did you fall asleep reading?" His mother asked, picking up bits of laundry from the lamp, the floor, and under the bed.
"I must have," Cloud said, knees up, frozen still under his comforter.
Both of their eyes drifted down to where the magazine lay. Cloud covered his face in his hands.
It had fallen open to a page with Senator Ona Hellenson on it. Her pasty, fat face staring up with a disapproving glare. She was sitting on a teacher's desk with a ruler in her hands, the headline read "Senator moves for stricter discipline in public schools".
Cloud groaned. His mother snickered.
She knew every fucking time.
Chapter Image can be found here! - http://owmyhearteries.deviantart.com/gallery/?offset=120#/d1co9li
1- Anal Orgasm was made up by me. If there is some punk band on this Earth that goes by that name, I bow to them. The songs and CD title are also made up. This is "Cloud's band". I really didn't want to use an actual band because well … Feelings gets mixed up then. This way, when you're reading, just think of the most ass kicking music you know. Do it. Picture some dusty little record, completely unknown … That pumps out exactly what you want to hear. That is Anal Orgasm.
2- Everyone is way way OC. Just roll with it. It'll feel good.
3- TimeWeek, made up. You knew that. So is Ona Hellenson, bless her fake little made up soul.
4- Cloud has an overactive imagination. It's only going to get worse (funnier).
5- I don't hate Tifa, Lord bless her titties.