Actions

Work Header

I'll Swallow Your Darkness

Chapter Text

He wipes sweat out of his eyes with the back of his arm and sits down on an outcropping of rock with a heavy sigh. The tip of his buster sword gouges into the dirt at his feet as he lets his sword arm fall slack, the muscles trembling a little with fatigue. He flexes the hated, leathery black wing that sprouts from his back and tucks it back under his cloak. How many of the creatures has there been this time? Twenty? Fifty? He’d been moving too fast to count. Doesn’t even know which kind of heartless they’d been, and doesn’t care. It’s twenty or fifty more not walking this world anymore.

 

His body tenses when he becomes aware of a sound. A slow, steady smack, smack, smack coming from somewhere nearby. He launches himself to his feet and whirls, hand tightening on the hilt of his sword. His face darkens with anger when he sees who it is. The tall, muscular body sits on another rock formation about thirty feet away, a teasing smile on the exquisitely beautiful face while black gloved hands slowly give him a round of applause.

 

“Sephiroth,” he growls.

 

“It’s such a pleasure to watch you in action, I just couldn’t resist,” says his hated enemy with a wider smile.

 

“Did you ever think of maybe helping or something?” Cloud doesn’t know why he even asks. Just to poke at the bastard, he guesses. Sephiroth laughs, a sound that sends a chill down Cloud’s spine.

 

“Why would I want to do that? I have no interest in those vermin. You are the one who has taken a personal interest in this fight, one which isn’t even yours.”

 

“I’ve made it mine,” spits Cloud angrily. “I’ll help get rid of all the darkness in this place!”

 

“Interesting,” muses Sephiroth, standing up and strolling casually closer. Cloud swings the tip of his sword to track the other man’s progress, but Sephiroth ignores it. “So you’ll be getting rid of yourself too in the end, will you?”

 

“Shut up,” snaps Cloud. “When I’ve gotten rid of all the darkness, I’ll be rid of you. You and all your minions.”

 

Sephiroth sighs and shakes his head.

 

“I’m afraid you’re mistaken, you poor boy. The heartless have nothing to do with me. I’m here because you are.”

 

“So you’re just a creepy stalker,” sneers Cloud. Sephiroth smiles again, and something dark seems to flash through his greenish-blue eyes, the slit pupils dilating for a moment, then narrowing again.

 

“You misunderstand me,” he says softly, taking a few steps closer. Cloud lifts his blade to block his approach, but Sephiroth slaps it casually away. He’s close now. Too close. Close enough for Cloud to smell the leather he wears, to see every ripple of muscle in his pale chest and stomach. “I didn’t follow you here. I exist here because you do. Because we’re joined. And you,” he leans in, so close now that Cloud can feel his breath, that their lips would touch if either of them moved another inch, “know it.”

 

“All I know is that you’re full of shit,” Cloud mutters sullenly. “Back off. You’re way too close.”

 

Sephiroth chuckles...and moves that final inch. His lips brush Cloud’s in a teasing, ghost of a kiss. Cloud’s body seems to go cold all over for a moment, then his skin flushes with heat. He feels like he’s burning up all over. His face blazing with anger and embarrassment, he shoves Sephiroth away and grips his buster sword with both hands, shouting with rage and swinging it in a wide, sweeping arc designed to sever the bastard’s head neatly from his body.

 

That’s not what happens. Masamune is suddenly just there , blocking his stroke. Their blades lock and metal screams on metal, electricity seeming to crackle and arc between them, red and blue tangling together. Just like we do , thinks Cloud inanely, and immediately is furious with himself for thinking it. Angrily, he spins and attacks again. His wing snaps out from under his cloak and spreads wide, lending him balance and strength. Sephiroth’s elegantly feathered wing mirrors his own as the other man laughs and counters him again. Why the fuck does he always seem to show up AFTER I’ve been in a major battle? He wonders, panting as he attempts a feint to get under Sephiroth’s guard and his enemy sees right through it.

 

They clash and counter, feint and attack, block and slash at one another across the rubble. Sephiroth’s movements are graceful, almost casual. It makes Cloud even angrier, that the other man isn’t even taking him seriously.

 

“Stop being an asshole and fight me,” he roars, charging Sephiroth as fast as he can. Sephiroth pivots to the side at the last second and Cloud stumbles past him. There’s a hot, stinging pain across the seat of his leather pants as he does.

 

“You’re tired,” says Sephiroth in an infuriatingly calm voice. “I’m not going to take you seriously in this condition. Just yield, Cloud. You can’t beat me.”

 

“Did you just smack me on the ass with your sword?” cries Cloud, outraged. Sephiroth smirks.

 

“You are having a temper tantrum. That’s how I deal with children who belong to me when they misbehave. By punishing them.”

 

Cloud growls angrily, studiously ignoring the way his belly tightens at Sephiroth’s ridiculous words. Not that he hasn’t been a lot more intimately acquainted with how creative Sephiroth can be with his ideas of discipline in the past than he’s ever wanted to be. I haven’t, he insists in his mind. I haven’t wanted to be.

 

“I’m not having a temper tantrum,” he snarls through gritted teeth. “I’m going to fucking kill you.” He attacks again, and Sephiroth parries again.

 

“No you’re not,” counters Sephiroth in amusement. “You can’t kill me, Cloud. I’m a part of you, just as you’re a part of me. Our darkness is the same darkness. You are my darkness. You’re mine. You’re being very tiresome, and my patience is wearing thin. You’re exhausted, and no match for me.” Cloud hates that he’s right, hates that Sephiroth is refusing to take advantage of his weakness to kill him, the way he tells himself he’d do if the situations were reversed.

 

“Fuck you,” he howls, leaping into the air, his wing flexing and pumping to give him lift. The muscles in his arms quiver with fatigue as he raises his blade above his head, bringing it down on Sephiroth with all his strength. Sephiroth doesn’t move to dodge the blow, but meets it, Masamune in one hand. He binds Cloud’s blade and flings his arm out. Fingers numbed by the impact, Cloud loses his grip and his sword goes flying. Sephiroth’s free hand seems to almost casually grip him by the front of his coat, whereupon he uses Cloud’s own momentum to hurl him bodily into a tall rock formation. He slams against it, desperately contorting his body midair so he can take most of the impact on his back and shoulder on his right side. It knocks all the air out of his lungs and he slumps to the ground, his mouth working helplessly as he struggles to gasp for breath.

 

Then Masamune is at his throat, resting lightly against his skin. Sephiroth stands over him, staring down with an impassive expression on his heartbreakingly lovely face.

 

“You instinctively protected your wing,” he comments idly. “Why could that be, I wonder.”

 

Cloud glares at the ground in front of him, refusing to look up at the man towering over him. He refuses to dignify the question with an answer too. Masamune slides up his throat until the blade is tucked under his chin, exerting pressure upwards. Sephiroth’s control of it is effortless. His arm is steady, and the blade never wavers, despite its incredible length. Cloud is forced to look up at him if he doesn’t want his skin to be split open.

 

“I don’t know,” he mutters angrily. Sephiroth’s mouth curls up on one side.

 

“Little liar,” he whispers. “You protect it because it is a part of you. Part of your darkness. And a reflection of me. You shouldn’t lie, puppet. Not to me, and not to yourself. Bad things happen to little boys who tell lies.”

 

Cloud shudders at these words. Damn the man to hell, that he can do this to Cloud. There is no one who knows the darker secrets of Cloud’s desires. No one but this man.

 

“I hate you,” he hisses furiously. Sephiroth’s smile only widens.

 

“You only think you hate me because of that which you pretend to hate within yourself. When are you going to be honest with yourself? You’re a better fighter when you use the darkness in yourself. Dark and light...one can’t really exist without the other. It’s part of why you can’t resist me, and why I can’t stay away from you. My darkness calls to you. Your darkness brings me back, time and time again. And more than that…. Look at me, boy.” His cool voice sharpens, cracks like a whip and Cloud can’t ignore it. His eyes snap back to Sephiroth’s face. “More than that,” continues Sephiroth calmly, “your light prevents me from being damned entirely.”

 

Cloud blinks at him in surprise. Is Sephiroth trying to be fucking romantic or something? What he’s saying can’t really be true. This stupid thing he has for the man, it’s just some kind of sickness. That’s all.

 

“You’re crazy,” he says, hating how his voice comes out a little too breathy and unsteady to be very convincing.

 

“Perhaps,” agrees Sephiroth with an easy shrug. “But that does not mean I’m wrong. Are you ready to yield now, foolish boy?”

 

“Never,” growls Cloud. Sephiroth laughs at him.

 

“Very well. More fun for me. You’ll recall I mentioned that the connection between light and dark is part of why you can’t resist me. I believe you’ll recall there’s another reason.”

 

“No,” whispers Cloud, trying to shake his head in negation, but Sephiroth presses the edge of his blade a little harder against his throat and he can’t, not unless he wants to bleed. Even if he does, he doesn’t want it that way.

 

“Yesss,” hisses Sephiroth. His eyes light up an unholy green, glowing, burning down at Cloud. He wants to look away, but he can’t. “Now get on your knees.”

 

And Cloud can’t resist, can’t refuse him. Fucking Jenova DNA. Masamune pulls back, and instead of rolling away and grabbing his sword where it’s fallen ten feet away or so the way he ought to, Cloud pushes slowly off the stone wall behind him and gets on his knees, his head bowed, cheeks burning with embarrassment. He doesn’t understand it, but there are times like this when he can’t fight it anymore. His stupid dick has been aching in his pants since the moment Sephiroth’s lips had brushed his. No , he thinks bitterly, be honest about this at least, since apparently we’re doing this. It’s since you heard him laugh. Since that little chill up your spine the moment you realized he was here, and you knew exactly what it meant. They don’t have a world to fight over here. Sephiroth’s not trying to destroy anything Cloud considers his to protect, not anymore. They fight when they meet because they fucking get off on it. And they only meet when Sephiroth wants something from him. Something he fights, because he has to, to preserve his own sanity, but something he wants just as desperately as he struggles against it. Things he dreams of night after night, dark things, twisted things that only this man can give him. Damn him.

 

“Good boy,” purrs Sephiroth. Masamune vanishes, as if he knows he won’t need it anymore. Not that he can’t summon it in an instant if Cloud does decide to rebel again. His fingers curl under the straps across Cloud’s chest, and he summons a portal through the Darkness, stepping into it and dragging his prey along for the ride.

 

They emerge into a dimly lit room. Cloud falls forward onto his hands when Sephiroth lets go of him, shuddering and gasping.

 

“Asshole,” he pants, “you know I hate that!”

 

“If you’d stop fighting who you are so hard, the Corridors wouldn’t be so hard on you,” comments Sephiroth placidly, leaning over a small table to light a candle. His back is to Cloud, but his voice lashes out, dangerous and cold with implicit threat. “If you get up off your knees before I give you permission, you’re not going to like what happens.”

 

Cloud glares at him, subsiding in the act of climbing to his feet to….well, he’s not sure what he’d been planning to do. Rush Sephiroth and try to strangle him? Run for the door? Tackle him and make him stop beating around the bush and just get on with it already? Sephiroth turns back to him and smiles. His hand gently cups Cloud’s cheek, his thumb brushing the younger man’s lips.

 

“Don’t pout, puppet. You’re already in enough trouble as it is.”

 

“Oh my god,” complains Cloud. “Fuck you.”

 

“Don’t hold your breath, lover ,” purrs Sephiroth, forcing his thumb into Cloud’s mouth. “My, you must really be desperate for punishment. You haven’t pushed this hard in quite some time.”

 

Cloud doesn’t respond. He can’t. All he can do is suck and lick helplessly at the leather-clad thumb in his mouth, saliva pooling as his belly tightens. Color flags his cheeks when Sephiroth presses his thumb against Cloud’s tongue and watches him knowingly.

 

“How shall I punish you tonight, I wonder. Any thoughts, naughty puppet?” He pulls his thumb out to give Cloud the ability to speak. Cloud looks up at him in confusion. “I asked you a question.”

 

“Yeah, I heard you...you’ve just...never fucking asked before.” This is not what they do. Sephiroth does not ask . He takes. And gives, reminds the traitorous voice in his head. Shut up, he tells it.

 

“You’ve never pushed this hard before,” says Sephiroth softly. Cloud frowns and tries to look away. This is not what he wants. Not kindness from this man. Not now, anyway. Not after the week Cloud’s had. He can’t really say why his brain is all tangled and won’t let him alone, why the darkness is so bad right now. Nothing specific has happened, that he’s aware of. Maybe it has something to do with whatever’s going on in that Sora kid’s fight against the Organization. He only knows he feels it, buzzing along the surface of his skin, tapping at him like ghostly fingers, all the time and he can’t seem to shut it off. He shakes his head in frustration.

 

“Fuck you ,” he says again, through his teeth. Sephiroth hums thoughtfully.

 

“I see,” he says quietly, and the hell of it is that Cloud thinks he actually does see. The hand stroking his face slides gently into his hair, slender fingers carding through the messy blond spikes. The fist he makes moments later makes Cloud’s eyes water. He yells out in pain as he’s yanked off the floor by his hair and thrown bodily all the way across the room to slam into another stone wall, this one man made (or by whatever passes for man wherever they are right now) and then bounces gracelessly onto a bed. He groans in pain and has to remember how to breathe yet again.

 

“Shit,” he gasps. He can practically feel the bruises forming. He looks up to find Sephiroth standing over him, slowly pulling his gloves off one finger at a time.

 

“Strip,” he snaps coldly. Cloud thinks about refusing. About forcing Sephiroth to make him do it. But the look in the other man’s eyes tells him this would probably be pushing his luck a little too far. Slowly, because he’s still a little stunned from being hurled against immovable surfaces twice in less than an hour, and because he also knows Sephiroth likes looking at his body, he starts to squirm and writhe his way out of his clothing. Because this thing they do, whatever anyone would call it, has finally begun, and because he’s too tired to fight Sephiroth anymore right now, he stays exactly where he’s been put, sprawled on the bed, even though it’s going to make actual stripping something of a challenge.

 

The leather coat is easy. He pulls his one arm free and rolls off it, shoving it off the bed onto the floor. He unbuckles the straps that cross his chest and just leaves them lying under him. After briefly sitting up to tug off his boots (which seems to be okay because Sephiroth doesn’t say or do anything about it), because he can’t get them off from a prone position, he lays back down and slowly tugs the hem of his shirt out of his pants. Sephiroth stands over him, his eyes tracking Cloud’s hands as he pulls it up, revealing taut, muscled flesh with every inch. Mako-enhanced eyes glitter with a hunger Cloud recognizes. His hips roll helplessly in response as he pulls the shirt the rest of the way off and tosses it away. His fingers tease his belt open, then toy with his fly. He closes his eyes and moans softly as the tug of the zipper going down rubs over his cock. Fuck, he’s so hard already. He lifts his ass off the bed, working pants and shorts off at the same time, inching them down. His erection springs free and he sighs.

 

“Tease,” murmurs Sephiroth softly. Cloud looks at him, and smirks a little. “You’ll pay for that too, I think.”

 

“Fuck,” whispers Cloud, pushing his pants down the rest of the way and kicking them off. Then he lays back and reaches up slowly, fingers curling around the wooden crosspiece of the headboard. Sephiroth shrugs off his coat, not taking his eyes off of his prey. It drops to the floor, leaving his torso bare save for the straps making an X across the fine marble of his skin. And no matter what kind of a bastard he is, no matter that most of the time Cloud wants to kill him (or wants to want to anyway), he has to admit that everything about Sephiroth’s body takes his breath away. He’s like a marble statue of a god. Made for sin, created by some demon poet with a generous hand and a very dirty mind. He unbuckles the thick belts covering his lower abdomen and kidneys and it falls to the floor with a thud and clashing of buckles, then his elegant fingers pause over the belt around his waist.

 

“It’s so loud inside your head tonight, isn’t it?” he asks in a low voice. Cloud’s eyes widen. His lips part, and he nods wordlessly. Gaia, he may hate it most of the time, but the bastard understands. Sephiroth nods back and very slowly draws his belt free, the leather hissing softly through the loops on his leather pants. “I think, then, nothing very elaborate or creative this time. I think, tonight...just pain.”

 

Cloud can’t hold back a small whimper of need when his belly clenches and his cock twitches at the words. He wants this. Goddess, he does. He knows he’s going to pay, and dearly, for it, but every now and then it’s just such a fucking relief not to have to pretend. Not to have to explain.

 

“Please,” he whispers. Sephiroth’s eyes flash victoriously.

 

“Turn over on your stomach, little boy,” he purrs. “You’ve been very, very bad.”

 

Cloud does it, choking back a soft whine that wants to tear from his throat, not sure whether it would mean terror or eagerness. He hisses when his aching cock makes contact with the well padded but slightly scratchy bedcover, shifting his hips to settle himself.

 

“Beautiful,” whispers Sephiroth. The usual soft, even baritone of his voice has gone rough, a growl underneath it that speaks of the dark lust he usually conceals beneath his typical mask of bored arrogance. Not that Cloud’s not familiar with the tone. He’s heard it before, too many times to count now, but never this soon. His breath catches in his throat as he reaches up and grabs the crosspiece again, knuckles whitening as he squeezes hard, the wood rough under his palms. Sephiroth chants something he can’t quite make out, but Cloud recognizes the pattern of an incantation. He exhales a startled curse when the wood ripples and becomes pliant under his hands. It writhes for a moment, dividing itself along the grain, rolling over his hands, almost as though it’s become liquid. Within seconds, it re solidifies, and his wrists are held firm, the wood sealed around them like a stockade of old. He yanks against it, because he has so, but it doesn’t budge. Sephiroth chuckles. Cloud’s skin pebbles at the sound. Oh Goddess, he’s in so much trouble.

 

“S-Sephiroth…” His voice contains a thread of panic, and he clamps his mouth shut over whatever else he’d been going to say, hating it.

 

“Shh,” whispers Sephiroth. “Don’t be afraid, puppet. Not for the wrong reason. I’ve bound you for one reason. I’m going to hurt you. You need it. You require it. But I don’t know how readily your body will be able to accept it. It’s your instinct to fight me, and believe me you exquisite creature, I hope you never stop. But tonight, if your instinct and your need cannot come to an accord, I may damage you in a way neither of us wants. I’ve simply removed some of your ability to struggle. I mean to hurt you, little puppet...not to let you hurt yourself.”

 

The panic backs off, to be replaced by a combination of confusion...because Sephiroth is being… solicitous...of him in a way he’s never been before, and Cloud doesn’t know what to do with that. But also heat. He can’t explain why he craves the exquisite torture this man inflicts on him. There are days he hates him for it….or rather, days he just hates him. But he can’t resist that sinister promise, Sephiroth’s voice almost a caress on his heated skin. He relaxes, releasing the strain of muscle, bone and sinew yanking against the magical imprisonment of his wrists, and sighs.

 

Then, the moment his body surrenders, his head laying down on the pillow, tension draining away, Sephiroth appears on top of him, arms and legs caging him, the heat of his body tingling over Cloud’s skin. He bites back an exclamation. Damn it, why does he always forget that the bastard can teleport? Sephiroth’s laugh is low and dark, trickling through his teeth and into Cloud’s brain like something forbidden and bittersweet. He moans softly when lips brush teasingly over his shoulders. Sephiroth’s tongue on his skin leaves goosebumps in its wake.

 

“I can taste it,” breathes his lover, his enemy, into his ear, making him shiver. “Taste the darkness in you, Cloud...it’s so sweet. It makes me want to eat. You. Up.” With that, his teeth sink into the joint where Cloud’s wing meets his shoulder. He cries out helplessly when the deep, bruising pressure sparks a response in nerves he hadn’t known existed. Cloud mostly does his best to ignore his wing, keeping it hidden under his coat except in battle. He never touches it, finding its leathery, batlike appearance obscene. He understands that it’s the counterpart to Sephiroth’s wing, but has always been bitterly ashamed of the difference between the two. Though Sephiroth’s wing is dark too, it is also beautiful, its feathers soft and graceful. As if Sephiroth is the angel to his own demon. In his worst moments, it makes him wonder which one of them is really the more consumed by darkness.

 

And so he’s never touched it. Dear merciful Goddess, he can’t breathe when Sephiroth’s fingers stroke lightly up the first joint in blatant contrast to the brutality of his teeth grinding into Cloud’s flesh. Sephiroth laughs, low and mean through his teeth. He opens his mouth and licks away some of the sting from his teeth, but doesn’t stop touching the wing. Cloud flexes and extends it, gasping when Sephiroth’s hand softly follows the flex, stroking out as far as he can reach along the top. His fingertips drift down over the rough, leathery membrane. It feels as though all the tiny capillaries in his wing’s surface swell with blood. Cloud chokes on whimpers, shuddering.

 

“Perhaps someday I’ll let you touch mine,” muses Sephiroth, amused.

 

“Fuck,” gasps Cloud. “Does it feel good to you too?”

 

“Turn your head,” Sephiroth says in reply. Cloud does his best, twisting his neck to look back at the man behind him. Sephiroth sits up, straddling Cloud’s ass. Slowly, gracefully, his wing extends. Then, his eyes pinned to Clouds, Sephiroth brings it down around them both. The feathers stroke up Cloud’s side. Their softness is exquisite against his heated skin, but he almost doesn’t notice, all his attention captured by the expression on Sephiroth’s face.

 

His eyes drift slowly closed and his perfectly sculpted lips part. He lets his head fall back a little and a shivering sigh escapes his mouth. Sephiroth caresses Cloud’s back with the tips of his feathers, the presses his wing against Cloud’s own, both of them extended so that all of one touches all of the other. Sephiroth’s teeth sink into his full bottom lip and he lets out a low, moaning growl. His hips roll, and his hand drifts down over his chest and the shifting of his abs. His fingers brush over the clearly defined ridge of his impressive erection which strains against the front of his pants, rubbing up and down its length. Cloud can’t look away. He stares, fascinated...transfixed...and starts a little when Sephiroth’s eyes suddenly snap open. Mako seems to swim and swirl in their depths, as it only does when he is either incredibly angry or incredibly turned on. He smiles, a wicked smile that makes Cloud’s breath catch, and stops touching himself, folding his wing back behind his back at the same time. Cloud feels a little dizzy when he realizes exactly how much power Sephiroth has just handed him in revealing this secret to him. Cloud keeps his wing hidden, but Sephiroth doesn’t. He suddenly envisions himself walking past his tormentor in the streets of Hollow Bastion, with people all around them, casually reaching out and stroking his hand over Sephiroth’s feathers as he passes. Oh yeah, that’s happening, he thinks. At least, as long as I can walk past him without getting into a fight with him. Maybe someday, it’ll even give me the upper hand.

 

“Don’t count on it,” growls Sephiroth, his smile widening.

 

“How did you..” Cloud’s gleeful thoughts vanish, his body feeling as though it’s been doused with ice water. No, there’s no way. He can not read my mind!

 

“Do you honestly still think I’m speaking metaphorically when I say that I exist here because of you, that you’re a part of me? I know exactly what I’d be thinking in your place, and I know you. You can’t hide what you’re thinking from me very well, Cloud...you never have.”

 

As he finishes speaking, he stand up, picking up his belt from where he’d left it draped over the foot of the bed a few minutes ago. His fingers close around the buckle and he wraps the leather a couple of times around his fist.

 

“I think we’ve played long enough, my naughty puppet. Are you ready to be punished?”

 

Cloud swallows hard. This is what he’s here for, after all. The agony and ecstasy Sephiroth forces on him with ruthless precision, ripping down the walls Cloud builds between himself and his own thoughts and emotions, often the only thing that will drive back the noise in his brain so that he can remember who he is again. Not the somehow terrifying kindness Sephiroth has shown him tonight, not gentle touches and revealing personal information. He tugs once against the post that traps his hands, to ensure himself that it won’t budge, and nods shortly.

 

Fire blooms in a neat line across his shoulder, almost before he finishes the nod.

 

“HAH!” It startles the sound out of him, and he seethes a little with resentment. Sneaky bastard. He never gives Sephiroth the satisfaction of his voice this early in the proceedings.

 

“You said you were ready,” Sephiroth says innocently. Cloud growls and lays his forehead against the pillow, refusing to respond. But oh Gaia, he knows Sephiroth has never struck him so hard before. Sephiroth’s punishments are endlessly creative and always painful. Sometimes they’re purely sexual in nature, like the time the asshole had snapped a cock ring on him, made Cloud choke on his cock until tears had poured down his face, then fucked him off and on for several hours without letting him come. Another time he’d tied Cloud up with his hands over his head in the middle of a room and covered most of his body with deep, teeth-shaped bruises, telling him over and over how he was marking Cloud as his property. When he’d slowly but steadily bitten down on the rock hard shaft of Cloud’s cock, he’d screamed in agony while coming like a freight train down Sephiroth’s throat. He’s spanked Cloud like a child, made him fuck himself with an uncomfortably large dildo until he was so overstimulated he’d cried, and whipped his back and ass with a stinging flogger against a heavy wooden cross until Cloud had slumped in his bonds from exhaustion.

 

But this…. Goddess ...he flinches when the leather lights up a matching line of pain on his other shoulder...this is more intense than any of those things had been. Like Sephiroth wasn’t lying when he said he understood that Cloud’s worse this time. Because even as his body tenses in excruciating pain, as he grits his teeth and refuses to show Sephiroth how much it hurts, a part of him is exultant because it is exactly what he needs. He also realizes he has cause to be thankful to Sephiroth, both for his skill and his apparent unwillingness to cause Cloud too much pain, considering what he’d shown the younger man about his wing before commencing with thrashing the hell out of him, because Sephiroth never strikes his wing, or its joint in the middle of his shoulder blade. He decides he doesn’t want to think about what this reveals about Sephiroth. Of course, by the time his brain sorts out these few things, he loses the ability to think at all.

 

The leather licks tongues of flame all over his back, covering his shuddering skin with thick welts. His blood throbs along with his heart in every single one, as though it’s been brought just to the surface, almost to the point of weeping from Cloud’s body. He feels a drop of sweat roll down his spine, stinging like crazy when it comes into contact with one of the marks. The muscles in his arms tremble and his jaws ache with the effort of holding in the sounds that want to spill from his lips, but he can’t just give in. He’s been fighting Sephiroth for too long to be able to do that. It feels like centuries sometimes. Maybe it has been. Maybe they just keep doing this over and over again in one way or another; death and rebirth, victory and defeat, light and dark… pain and pleasure.

 

He fights it because he must, because it is coded into him as surely as the Mako on his blood and Jenova’s DNA in his genes that give the man granting him this exquisite torture some measure of power over him. He can’t deny it, because Sephiroth has the ability to bring him to his knees with a word when he really tries, but part of him will always fight it. Sephiroth will tell him sometimes that he should just surrender, but he doesn’t think that’s what the man really wants. He thinks Sephiroth would be disappointed if Cloud submitted to him easily. And Cloud knows that if he did, if it came easily to him, if Sephiroth didn’t have to really work for it, then none of it would be able to give him what he ultimately needs from it. It’s because he fights with all his will that Sephiroth is able to break through his barriers and that Cloud’s head will be peaceful again when they’re done. His eyes water with the strain of holding back from voicing his torment, but he’s not crying.

 

The strap lashes across his ass and his spine arches as the pain lances to his core. That’s when Sephiroth starts talking to him, and Cloud knows it’s only a matter of time now.

 

“Exquisite,” whispers Sephiroth, laying into his ass again, and again. “You are so beautiful in your suffering. Why must you fight me? Why must you fight what you need?”

 

CRACK

 

The pain is almost incandescent, something he sees as a pure, white light behind his tightly closed eyelids. Purifying in its simplicity. He wonders inanely how Sephiroth would feel about that. He wonders how he feels about accepting it from a man such as this. Could Sephiroth be right, that you can’t have one without the other? Nah, he’s fucking crazytown, remember? Except he seems a lot less crazy here. Especially now.

 

CRACK

 

“You should see yourself. So pretty. Let go, puppet.”

 

He wants to. Oh, he does. But it isn’t quite enough. He grits his teeth and looks over his shoulder at Sephiroth.

 

“Nuh...not….y-your...puh...puppet,” he gasps.

 

CRACK

 

Sephiroth laughs softly.

 

“Open your legs.” His voice is quiet, but it’s not a request.

 

“No...oh, no,” whimpers Cloud. Even as he knows perfectly well he’s going to obey.

 

“Do it.”

 

NOT your PUPPET, ” Cloud yells. Damn you , he thinks, dizzy with need and pain. See ME. Me, not a thing to be played with. Sephiroth is quiet for so long Cloud starts to worry he’s actually managed to piss the man off. That’s surprisingly hard to do, which makes it terrifying. But then…

 

“Cloud. Open your legs.”

 

A tiny sob escapes his lips as he does it. Since he can’t support his weight on his arms, shifting his legs apart grinds his hips into the mattress, the wool blanket rubbing against his cock, which is harder than ever, slick against his belly as it weeps for what comes after. After he breaks. No , says the voice in his head that is both more honest than he is and also more annoying, tell the truth. After you submit.

 

The leather in Sephiroth’s hand kisses cruelly at his thighs, curling around to lick soft skin. That, combined with his name on Sephiroth’s lips, is too much for him to fight. He cries out in pain, the muscles of his inner thighs quivering with his desire to close them. But he won’t.

 

“Good boy.” Sephiroth’s voice is gentle, in direct contrast to the strap he wields, descending again and again. “So good for me. Give me your voice now. It hurts so much, doesn’t it? You’ve gotten yourself into such a state. Why did you make me come to you, foolish boy? I’m the only one who can do this for you. The only one who understands. I’ll drive the darkness back for you, Cloud. Every time you need me to.”

 

Cloud blinks through the tears that well up in his eyes, shock at Sephiroth’s words cutting through the rising haze in his brain. He does know.

 

“AHH!” He gives voice to his pain again, and it’s such a relief to do it finally.

 

“You don’t have to fear the darkness,” Sephiroth continues. “You use it. You’re stronger because of it. You’re so blind. Why can’t you understand? I exist because of you. For you. To embrace the dark you can’t. I’ll take all of it. All you can’t contain. Give it to me. Don’t you see? The light in you keeps me sane in this world. Mother can’t reach me here. There’s only you. I’ll swallow all the dark that chokes you. All you have to do it let it go.

 

Faced with words such as these, what else can he do? Cloud lets go. Sobs shake his body, and he wails in pain when the leather cracks against his skin again. Dimly, through his tears, he hears Sephiroth moan quietly through closed lips. He howls the next time the strap dips between his thighs. Oh Gaia, the noise in his brain is fading. His tears are as much relief as pain. He can feel Sephiroth’s eyes on him, watching keenly. Waiting. He always knows when Cloud’s had enough. The moment when pain becomes something else, when Cloud surrenders, when what Sephiroth gives him is enough. He’d thought of it as what Sephiroth does to him, takes from him, for a long time, but he’d been wrong. He understands now. Recognizes it for the gift it is. Sephiroth will always be a creature of darkness, but because he is...Cloud doesn’t have to be.

 

The last tenuous barrier in his mind snaps, and he’s free. He hears the quiet thud of Sephiroth’s belt hitting the floor. Tears roll unchecked down his face, but he doesn’t hurt anymore. The silk of Sephiroth’s hair slides over his skin. He shudders. Sephiroth’s breath on his cheek wrings a soft whine from his throat. The tip of his tongue captures a tear and he hums softly.

 

“So sweet,” he whispers.

 

“Se...Seph…” sighs Cloud.

 

“What is it?”

 

“I...want you…” It doesn’t feel bitter to admit it this time. Does he imagine it that he hears Sephiroth’s breath catch when he says it? Has to be. Sephiroth licks his way down Cloud’s body, his tongue tracing the marks he’s placed there, his lips soft on the spots that make Cloud hiss.

 

“I can taste the pain I’ve given you,” he breathes the words against Cloud’s wing joint.

 

“Ngh!”

 

Sephiroth’s teeth scrape over the exact spot where Cloud’s skin gives way to black leathery skin. Cloud moans helplessly, then gasps when a slippery finger works between the cheeks of his ass. It stings in the welts, but Cloud doesn’t care. His hips rock as the finger rubs gently around his asshole.

 

“Damn it,” pants Cloud. Sephiroth laughs, his warm breath gusting over Cloud’s wing joint, and shoves two fingers inside him. “Ah!”

 

“Better?”

 

“Fuck me.”

 

“I’d have you scream for me. Will you?” wonders Sephiroth, fucking him way too slowly with his fingers.

 

“I don’t know,” Cloud says, practically drooling with want. “Are you gonna stop talking and do it or not?” Sephiroth’s laugh at this is one he’s never heard before. It sounds...surprised. Pleased. Honest. Of course, by this point, Cloud’s dick has been hard for a couple of hours and he doesn’t care anymore about epiphanies, he just really wants to come. The fingers are withdrawn, and he wonders if whoever’s bed this is will care when he bites all the fucking way through their sheets.

 

But then Sephiroth’s weight settles over him, pressing his body down into the mattress. The head of his cock nestles against Cloud’s twitching hole. It’s going to burn. Two fingers isn’t nearly enough to prepare him for Sephiroth’s girth, but he doesn’t care. He knows exactly how it’s going to feel. Knowing, of course, doesn’t keep him from screaming just the way Sephiroth wants when he’s speared open with one ruthless snap of Sephiroth’s hips.

 

“What a good little toy,” purrs Sephiroth, grinding his hips against Cloud’s ass, giving him a little time to adjust to the eye-watering stretch.

 

“I’m not your toy, ” growls Cloud, although it doesn’t come out nearly as confidently as he’d intended because his voice is thick and shaky with the strain of getting pried open so fast.

 

“I didn’t call you a puppet,” Sephiroth points out, humor in his voice.

 

“It’s the same thing,” says Cloud bitterly. Guess he’d imagined a few things after all.

 

“No,” whispers Sephiroth, slowly rocking his hips. “No...you use puppets, Cloud. You play with toys.”

 

“Oh my god, will you just move already?” It comes out pretty snarky, but damned if he’s going to let Sephiroth see the tears that prick at the corners of his eyes. Or tell him it might be okay if he wants to call Cloud his toy every now and then, as long as he doesn’t still have his sword in his hand, anyway.

 

“Your idea,” Sephiroth warns, but doesn’t offer him a chance to change his mind. He drags his cock back until just the head remains inside Cloud’s stinging, aching hole, then slams it back in. Cloud howls. Fuck. Fuck, it hurts, it burns, but it’s perfect. It scours out the last few cobwebs in his brain until his head is completely peaceful and the burn fades to heat. He pulls against his wrists in frustration. He can’t get any leverage like this, Sephiroth murmurs another incantation and the wood surrounding his forearms softens and runs again. He yanks his hands free and fists them in the bedcovers, panting gratefully and bracing himself so he’ll feel every brutal, driving thrust in his bones. He can feel every inch of Sephiroth’s thick length rubbing inside him, grinding over his sweet spot whether he tries to or not because he’s just that big. But of course, being the sadistic bastard that he is, Sephiroth aims for it too, knowing Cloud’s body well enough to fucking nail it every time. It punches helpless cries from Cloud’s lungs. Gasping for breath, he unclenches one hand from the bedding to reach for his weeping, aching cock.

 

“Touch yourself and you won’t come at all,” snaps Sephiroth. Cloud buries his face in the pillow and screams into it in frustration. Oh Goddess, he aches all over, and he wants to come so bad he’s going to start to cry again soon and at this point, that’s just going to be humiliati…

 

“Haa…”

 

Sephiroth’s feathers stroke up his side, softly tickling his heated skin. It pebbles in their wake. Sephiroth gasps. The feathers brush delicately over the length of Cloud’s wing as well, and desperate whimpers spill from his lips. The softness of the touch, and knowing that it’s turning Sephiroth on even more, in stark contrast to the savagery with which he’s being fucked turns some kind of switch in Cloud’s brain.

 

“Fuck...fuck, I’m...I’m gonna come. Se...Sephiroth…”

 

Sephiroth’s feathered wing shoves his own flat against the mattress, somehow effortlessly forcing it to extend. It flexes, not because Cloud’s really trying to get away, because he’s not, he’s way too far gone for that, it’s just a reflex. It might seem on the surface that his own wing should be stronger than Sephiroth’s, because Sephiroth’s looks a great deal more delicate and fragile. It’s not the case. He can’t budge it an inch. Exquisitely soft feathers rub against every inch of bone and membrane. His eyes roll back in his head.

 

“Cloud,” snarls Sephiroth in his ear. His voice is raw and hoarse with desire. There’s a wildness to it he’s never heard before. “Hn...Ohh. Cloud.  Come.

 

Well, when he puts it that way. Cloud’s vision tunnels, going white. A cry is torn from his throat, a wrecked, almost plaintive sound as pleasure drowns him in more sensation than his overwrought body can handle. It’s made all the more shattering by the fact that he’s never heard Sephiroth make more noise than a little heavier breathing, or a soft grunt when he comes, but that’s not true tonight. His ragged moan hitches in his chest and he gasps out a single word as he empties himself into Cloud’s sore, snug, tight heat.

 

It is his lover’s name.



A short time later, Cloud drowses in the bed, sleepily enjoying the myriad small aches of his body. It’s not scratchy anymore, Sephiroth having pulled the covers back and then draped them over him.

 

“Whose place is this?” he’d asked, lifting his head to look around curiously. There’s not a great deal in the room to identify its owner. It’s comfortable, but nothing very fancy.

 

“Mine,”  Sephiroth had said, his mouth quirking up at one corner. He’d finished tugging his pants back up over his hips and left the room, telling Cloud he’d return in a few moments, leaving the younger man blinking after him in surprise. He returns now with a plate of food. He sits down on the edge of the bed and offers Cloud a piece of some kind of juicy yellow fruit, taking a bite for himself. There’s some bread and cheese as well.

 

“Are you tending me?” Cloud asks, feeling a little incredulous. Sephiroth smirks.

 

“I worked you over rather...thoroughly tonight. I felt it would be prudent not to send you off in your weakened condition to be devoured by Heartless. Is that what they do? Eat people? Do they eat, I wonder…” And Cloud realizes Sephiroth really doesn’t have anything to do with the Heartless. He rolls his eyes and accepts another piece of fruit.

 

“Ass,” he says without rancor. “What is this fruit anyway? It’s pretty damn good.”

 

“Oh...it’s something imported from an island group. What’s it called again...it’s shaped a good bit like a star. Ah, paupu, that’s what it is.”

 

The uneaten bite of fruit in Cloud’s hand falls from nerveless fingers and he stares speechlessly at the man sitting next to him, calmly consuming another small section, cut from the same piece of fruit.