[personal profile] apprentice_lurk
I'm not entirely sure on the exact canon ordering of events in the game, but then I came up with this on IM in response to Pepper telling me about someone else's dream, so go figure. Set somewhere just before the events in the Crater, when Sephiroth was still crazy and Cloud was still almost-sane. Assumed C/S/Z pre-game.

It's the humming that first catches Cloud's attention, though whether it's real or still all in his head he never finds out. Murmuring to himself in a soft, cracked baritone, standing up to his hips in a hot spring somewhere near the Crater, the tips of Sephoiroth's hair write wet and sinuous trails of moonspun silver across his skin. Steam rises around him, pillars of vapour and moonlight in a lunatic temple-spiral caging and caressing him, light and shadow and ice in the half-dark of the moon on jagged rocks.

And Cloud's feet catch and falter despite himself, halting in amidst the snarl of boulders despite how easy it could be to end everything now...the man was off-guard, if Sephiroth could ever be off-guard; unarmed, though Cloud knew as well as any that Sephiroth himself was a weapon; unaware, though the hum and sigh in Cloud's blood might not be from guilty half-remembrances alone...

...And then Sephiroth half-turns in the icy moonlight, mad eyes glinting like a crazed animal only barely held tight on its leash, and his lips curve in a cold, cruel smile...

It's hard enough to tell when Jenova is fully controlling Sephiroth, difficult to see whose madness is reigning at times, even when he's not standing naked and knowingly artless with absolutely nothing to be ashamed of- Stop it, stop it! Despite everything, Cloud can't look away - even when Sephiroth looks up and catches his eyes as though he'd known Cloud was there the entire time and his body freezes mid-breath, pinned by that unearthly green and the madness behind it, but not even desperate thoughts of his friends and Jenova lurking can rid him of the ache in his belly or his bitter, stubborn hardness or the way his hands suddenly shake against his sword.

He doesn't remember coming out from behind the rocks, doesn't remember the walk over treacherous, water-slick and water-worn boulders below, only comes back to himself when he's up to his waist in heat and Sephiroth is standing - gods help him - suddenly close enough to touch, head on one side and looking...looking at him, like...

His hand jerks spasmodically for his sword-hilt as Sephiroth raises his arms from the spring, held up to the moon as the steam parts for him and water falls like a benediction from his fingertips. "Do you still want me?" His voice is a purr, low and humming with something at once terrifyingly alien and deliciously unbearable. "Do you still love me, Cloud?"

And he can't say anything, his throat choked with fire and mako and the sound of his home burning, the taste of Sephiroth's skin and Zack's breathless laughter filling his ears... Green-taint surges in the back of his head, welling in him to be the wave that brings in the tide, and his head nods without his say-so; Jenova's crooning insanity pulls them together like stars caught in a black hole, and Cloud leans helplessly forward into the icy, crackling madness of Sephiroth's smile.
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