Oct '03'

Disclaimer: *sighs* You know the drill…Not mine, wished they were and thanks to the crew at Square for creating interesting characters for us to corrupt *snickers* Written purely for entertainment - not making anything from this. No siree, not a gil. Just a quick warning: reference to character rape/non-con sex. Please read at your own discretion.

This is YAOI - boys with boys, caring, desiring, kissing, hugging, groping…um, yeah…but that’s why you’re reading this, yes?

Reclaiming Tomorrow
By Garden’s Gnome

Quiet humming sounds filled the night time air as Cloud wandered around the vast airship on his return from the showers, only the essential systems on the Highwind still in operation. Patches of eerily pale green light danced across the deck through the round portal windows as the lifestream churned within the Northern Crater outside.

They had made it. They had survived the many obstacles placed by Sephiroth and others, and now they were ready to face the madman who wished to destroy the planet.

Well, almost ready.

Upon arriving at the Northern Crater, it had been decided that some rest would be needed before their first and possibly only foray into the unknown. All they were certain of was that Sephiroth was waiting for them somewhere at the bottom and they had to get to him, defeat him, and release holy. Aeris’ final gift to them.

Each member of the group used this final rest period differently. Cid tinkered with the airship, losing himself in the many wires under one of the cockpit consoles. Cait Sith had powered down, Reeve off assisting in the evacuation of Midgar while he had the time to spare. Tifa and Barret had sat together for some time before retiring to their beds, quietly remembering the comrades they had lost to make it to this battle…the members of Avalanche, Barret’s friend Dyne and most of his hometown, Nibelheim and all those who both Tifa and Cloud had known. And Aeris, their companion, who Sephiroth had killed with no remorse, but not before the last of the Ancients’ had managed to call holy. Her death would not go unpunished.

Rounding the corner and slowly walking into the hallway that housed the sleeping quarters, Cloud spotted Yuffie outside the room that Vincent had claimed. With the airship grounded, the young ninja’s motion sickness had quietened, allowing her to annoy the group in general with her nosey queries about their pasts. Most everyone had managed to ignore her until she had asked the ex-Turk when his birthday was.

“C’mon, Vinnie. When’s yer birthday?” she had asked, bouncing from foot to foot with restless energy.

“What is time to one who seeks sleep to forget the past?” he had asked back, mostly ignoring her query as he leaned against a bulkhead with his eyes closed.

“Your birthday, Vincent. When is it so I can get you a present…you have got to tell me!” she had demanded with a frustrated stamp of a booted foot.

“I do not have one.”

“That’s not true. Everyone has a birthday. How about you whisper it to me so I’m the only one who knows?” the young ninja had said, kneeling down to be closer to hear the answer to her question.

“No.”

“No?” Yuffie repeated Vincent’s quietly spoken word.

“…”

“Yer a stuck-up jerk, Vincent Valentine. If you don’t want to tell me then I’ll give you one. How about tomorrow? I’ll get you…Hey, lemme GO!”

The panicked order had gotten everyone’s attention. As one the group turned to see a clawed hand tightening around Yuffie’s slender throat as she was dragged eye to eye with the now irate man. Vincent’s eyes narrowed to slits of molten red.

“You will do no such thing and if you ask again, I will not be responsible for what happens to you.” Then he had thrust her away from his personal space and retreated to his room.

“He’s been dreaming…“ Yuffie said quietly, noticing Cloud’s presence. “Nightmares actually. I…I’m sorry for earlier. I was just trying to bring him into the group more. He’s be so alone for many years in his self-imposed sleep, I thought…Well, that doesn’t matter now. I’ll see you in the morning Cloud.”

Cloud watched the young woman head for her own room, shaking his spiky blond head sadly at what her social efforts had wrought. There were some things that younger people did not understand without living them personally. Losing people close to you was one of those things. Standing outside the door to the ex-Turk’s room, Cloud pondered the man that was Vincent Valentine.

When the group had found the basement key and awoken him, Vincent had been reluctant to talk to them. Only mention of Sephiroth had sparked an interest in weary and deadened red eyes. Following the telling of their story of Sephiroth and his plans to revive Jenova, the other man had told them to leave him to his unrestful slumber. Then later, after talking about Lucrecia and then to her when they had found the woman still living, none of them really knew much about Vincent and his past. Cloud sighed. He may be their leader but he would not intrude upon the other’s personal lives. Each had their own reason for fighting, some more personal than others.

About to turn away and head for his own room, Cloud was stopped by a muffled moan that came through Vincent’s door. A moan followed by a sharp cry. Nightmares indeed.

Carefully opening the door, Cloud peered into the darkened room. Pausing to let his eyes adjust to the darkness, the ex-soldier listened to the panting breath of his comrade. Whatever Vincent was dreaming of was disturbing him greatly. Another moan followed by some garbled words drifted across the small room. One word stood out from the rest. Sephiroth. Vincent was dreaming of the silver-haired madman. Cloud quietly began to approach the bed, the towel that had been slung around his bare shoulders falling to the floor as he concentrated on listening to other words coming from the sleeping man. There was a cry on denial followed by the gunman thrashing wildly on the bed, trying to escape an unknown phantom.

Reaching the bed, Cloud flicked on the small lamp and leaned over Vincent, arms resting either side of the distressed man but not touching him. Long dark hair fanned across the pillow, unrestrained by the usual red bandana. Vincent’s chest was bare, the slim torso glowing palely in the lamplight. Sheets and light blankets were tangled around his waist and legs as he struggled within his dream, his metal clad arm hanging off the side of the bed.

“Vincent…You have to wake up, you’re having a nightmare…Vincent!” Cloud called urgently to the ex-Turk only to gasp quietly as he heard a soft click of the safety on Vincent’s gun, Peacemaker, come off and found the weapon against his throat. Gazing down into wild looking red orbs, Cloud tried to calm his racing heart. “It’s me, Vincent. It’s Cloud.”

Slowly reaching out with one hand as deep red eyes looked through him, Cloud carefully took the gun from Vincent. Now would not be the time to get injured, unintentionally or otherwise. Placing the weapon on the small table, he looked back at the dark haired man to see that the ex-Turk was now watching his eyes intently.

“They glow, just like his…” came a quiet whisper.

“Like his? Like Sephiroth’s eyes?” Cloud asked, a small puzzled frown flitting across his face. Vincent turned his head to look at the gun. He nodded and closed his eyes with a sigh, lying still upon the bed. Seeing that Vincent now seemed calmer, Cloud began to move off the bed.

“Did you…want…to know what the…dream was about?” Vincent asked in a hesitant voice, eyes opening to watch the blond man now seated on his bed.

“My mom used to say that talking about them helped to see that they were only dreams,” Cloud said, his blue eyes watching his hands as he traced patterns on the covers. “If you want to tell me…I’ll listen. Maybe it will help you.”

Vincent moved over slightly in the bed and motioned for Cloud to lie next to him. The younger man carefully stretched out and watched him with eyes so like those that tormented him whenever he slept. Vincent took a deep breath.

“Do you remember the mission to Nibelheim, when Sephiroth first went mad after discovering Jenova?” he asked.

“Yeah, it was October sometime. Rained heaps.”

“When he was in the mansion researching who and what Jenova was and what Hojo had done he…came across notes pertaining to the experiments carried out on me. He read every book in that library so it was inevitable that he would find them. He also must’ve found a letter or something speaking of my relationship to his birth mother. To Lucrecia.”

Vincent watched Cloud frown, thinking over what he had said. Comprehension dawned. “He found you.”

“Yes, he did.”

“I had been sleeping somewhat peacefully when my coffin was opened. Feverishly bright green eyes peered down at me. ‘You must be Vincent’, he said to me before knocking me out. When I came to, I was chained of one of the walls in the basement.”

“What did he do to you?” Cloud asked, laying a reassuring hand on Vincent’s shoulder as the man’s eyes became unfocused when hearing the question.

“He talked to me about Jenova. Ranted on about it actually. He told me about everything he read, including the stuff about my beloved Lucrecia,” Vincent shivered slightly. “He told me…I could be…closer to her again…through him.” Vincent’s eyes shut tightly as he tried to fight off the memories.

“I know what you felt for her…how you tried to kill Hojo for what he did to create me. I’ve read of what he did to make you as you are now. Do you think that she would accept you now if she were alive? Accept the monster that sleeps inside you even as you slumber, to atone for what you couldn’t stop…I could let you…help you be closer to her again.”

“It was then that I realised that I was…naked,” Vincent said, his voice a whisper as the words tumbled from his lips. Cloud moved to pull him into a tight hug, Vincent’s body shaking fiercely as he remembered what Sephiroth had done to him. “He…he took me. He forced himself…into my body, raping me as…he…he raved on about Jenova and the Ancients and the Promised Land. I tried to fight him but he threatened to make me completely into the…beast…that is Chaos should I summon the demon to aid me.”

Vincent was now sobbing into Cloud’s bare chest, trying to draw enough air to finish his story. “When he was done…he just looked at me and said that he couldn’t see what Lucrecia saw in me. Then he released my hands and went to the door. I was still on the floor when I heard the lock turn. I don’t remember how or when I got off the floor, and I don’t remember anything after that until you awoke me.”

Cloud gently stroked long dark strands as he thought over what Vincent had told him. But what had triggered this memory or nightmare to surface. He had to know so that he could tell the others to avoid mentioning certain things.

“You haven’t remembered this until now?” he asked the man he was holding. He felt Vincent stiffen when he spoke the next word. “Why?”

For a few moments Vincent lay within Cloud’s arms, totally still except for the rise and fall of his chest as he breathed. “The day Sephiroth…woke me. It was…my birthday.”

Cloud was slightly stunned by the answer but then it made sense. Yuffie’s asking about the gunman’s date of birth had brought all the repressed memories to the surface. No wonder he had threatened her. Quickly doing some calculations in his head, he gasped and looked down into Vincent’s red eyes.

“Tomorrow. Your birthday is tomorrow.”

Vincent shuddered at the thought of having to face the silver-haired madman on the one day that he had been violated so. He had never been with anyone, not even Lucrecia. And then Sephiroth had come and used him in his madness, forever soiling him. It was no less than he deserved for failing to prevent the birth of someone who would ultimately kill them all. Vincent started to shake uncontrollably within the blond’s arms. He couldn’t face Sephiroth like this. He was weak.

Hearing the last thought spoken out loud, Cloud tightened his arms more and began to rock the ex-Turk gently. Vincent felt the careful and somewhat comforting movement. “Why…why are you still here?” he asked quietly.

Cloud’s movements stopped as he gazed down into red orbs. “You should never have had to endure that. No one should. I had a lover…he was killed before I arrived at Midgar. Zack was always careful not to hurt me and Sephiroth took him from me. Even though he didn’t kill Zack, he struck the first blow that allowed us to be captured.” Cloud tightened his hold on Vincent once more. “No one should have to go through that!”

Looking up into bright blue eyes, Vincent’s mind flitted from thought to thought. Cloud was right. No one deserved rape. Cloud had been loved. Perhaps he could…no, he wouldn’t agree to that. But he could help the healing process to start. No…asking was unthinkable.

“What’s wrong Vincent?”

“Would you…could we…No, forget it,” he said, moving to turn from Cloud’s hold. But the blond man refused to release him.

“What, Vincent? Let me help you through this,” Cloud said, their faces now very close together. Red eyes fell to the blond’s pale lips as Vincent’s tongue darted out to whet his own. Cloud leaned in closer and brushed his lips gently over the gunman‘s. “Let me help you to heal.”

Vincent froze at the feel of lips upon his. Sephiroth had never touched his face when he had taken him. This was so very different from then. They were warm and dry and soft all at once and he found himself wanting more. “Help me,” he whispered.

Needing no other encouragement, Cloud pressed his lips against Vincent’s, remembering all that Zack had made him feel when they were together. He nibbled on the gunman’s lips until the other man relax in his arms, then lightly drew his tongue across those lips, begging entry. Vincent parted his lips with a quiet sigh, allowing Cloud to taste him fully. The ex-Turk could feel himself falling under a hazy mist of pleasure as their tongues tangled and tasted each other.

Cloud felt Vincent respond to his hesitant touches as they kissed. The blond couldn’t shake the uncanny feeling of how right it was to do this with the gunman. While it was true that affection was not really involved, he held great respect for the man who fought beside him. Cloud gasped quietly as Vincent’s clawed hand made contact with his bare back, the metal warm and cool at the same time. “Yes, Vincent. Touch me too.”

Hands now travelled over bare chests as kisses became more demanding. Cloud tried to keep his thoughts together but the emotion emanating from the usually reticent man was dragging him under quickly. And the feel of the cloth-covered bulge against he hip did little to calm his desires. He pulled back from a deep kiss and watched Vincent closely.

Vincent’s body felt like it was on fire, his every nerve tingling at the touches of sword callused hands. Cloud’s gloves could not completely protect his hands from years of wielding a weapon. He felt Cloud pull back and forced his own eyes to open.

“Why do you stop?” he asked, voice slurred by desire. Cloud blushed and managed to look slightly embarrassed.

“I need…something to…make this easier. I don’t want to hurt you,” Cloud said, slowly drawing fingers over a pale throat. “Do you have some kind of oil or lotion?”

Vincent frowned but indicated the table next to them. Cloud leaned over and opened the draw, retrieving a small bottle of hand cream. Dropping it next to the pillow, he settled himself more firmly over the gunman. “Are you sure?” he asked. Vincent nodded and pulled the blond down for another kiss.

Through the haze of passion, Vincent was vaguely aware of his pants hitting the floor with Cloud’s following soon after. He squeezed his eyes closed, remembering the last time he was this exposed to another. Cloud sat back on his knees and spoke quietly to him.

“Vincent, open you eyes and look at me. I’m not him. We can stop right now if you want.”

Vincent’s slowly opened his eyes and looked at the naked man before him. Cloud had a beautiful body. Muscled arms and chest from using a sword for so long, and a firm, slim body covered in pale golden skin. Red eyes stopped at the firm length of flesh jutting out from the blond’s body, attesting to his desire for the other man. Bright blue eyes beckoned him forward.

“Touch me, Vincent.”

Reaching out carefully with his hand, Vincent stroked a finger down the velvet length of Cloud’s arousal. Fingers intertwined with his as Cloud wrapped their hands around his erection, stroking gently. Vincent listened to the quiet, gasping purr that came from the blond’s throat, proof that he was enjoying the touch. His own hips bucked when Cloud’s free hand came into contact with his own erection, enfolding it and stroking it gently.

Lost to the sensations of being touched so intimately by another, Vincent was vaguely aware of the blond’s movements as he placed the gunman’s hand back on the bed and moved his body lower. Liquid warmth engulfed his arousal and he threaded his fingers into tousled blond locks. This was all so very different from what the madman had done to him, and Vincent let himself be dragged under on a wave of pleasure.

Noting that Vincent was ready to move on, Cloud found the cream and coated his fingers. He would have to be very careful not to panic the man under him. He didn’t want to ruin what they were sharing. Looking up the length of the pale body, he saw that Vincent was watching him through heavily lidded eyes as he sucked on him. Lifting a leg over one shoulder, Cloud began to slowly prepare the gunman’s body to accept him.

Feeling the first finger seeking to intrude, Vincent’s body tensed and he locked his eyes to Cloud’s. The blond would not hurt him intentionally, so he forced his body to relax and focused on the waves of pleasure the swordsman’s touches were causing. With each finger that was added to stretch him, Vincent tensed but then made his body loosen and accept what Cloud was sharing with him. But after the blond’s fingers started hitting something within him that caused electric jolts of pleasure to course through his body, Vincent couldn’t help but want more.

Seeing Vincent begin to move back against his preparations, Cloud knew that it was time to take the final step. He coated his own length and then crawled up the pale form under him, his lips fastening onto Vincent’s in a possessive, mind-numbing kiss. Teasing the puckered entrance with his erection, Cloud sighed in relief as long, slender limbs wrapped themselves around his waist and pulled him closer.

“Don’t stop,” Vincent growled out into their kiss and Cloud slowly pushed himself into the gunman’s body.

Vincent focused on the kiss, on tongues feverishly seeking to taste each other as he was entered. He could feel the sharp pain of being stretched but ignored it, as it was nothing compared to wounds received in battle. He couldn’t explain how it felt, just that the fullness felt right. Then Cloud began to move.

Surrounded by tight heat, the blond swordsman knew that after so long without intimacy, he wouldn’t last long. Vincent was so responsive to any movement as his body demanded more pleasure be given. Cloud wrapped his still slick hand around the gunman’s erection and was rewarded by a firm return thrust that almost sent him over the edge. Their pace was furious, bodies taking over with the need to reach fulfilment. Vincent reached it first, Cloud’s constant connection with his prostrate overloading his body. He dragged his clawed hand lightly over the blond’s back as he released his essences between them, that particular touch and the feel of the other’s body tightening around him forcing Cloud into orgasm as well.

Laying together in sated bliss as their incoherent thoughts floated in their minds, Cloud decided that if they were to somehow survive the coming battle, he would like to pursue this new beginning with Vincent. He was about to ask the gunman what he thought when the arms around him slackened. Looking down, the blond saw that the other man had fallen asleep, his body too relaxed to stay awake. Moving as fast as his lethargic limbs would allow, Cloud slowly rolled off of the gunman and pulled him back against his chest. Tugging a blanket over them both, he looked over to check how much time they had left to rest.

The time was just after midnight.

Cloud snuggled down, burying his face into long dark hair and mumbled a few tired words to his lover.

“Happy birthday, Vincent,” he whispered and smiled sleepily as the other man sighed contentedly.

END

Notes from Gnome: Hmmm, yeah. I was kinda thinking of making the rape scene a bit more graphic but couldn’t bring myself to do so. That and I was running short on time to get this finished. Hope it wasn’t too sappy for the whole Cloud/Vincent pairing. It’s been such a loooong time since I last played the game so my perceptions of the characters have probably changed somewhat over time. Well, there you have it - Vincent’s b’day fic from me. HAPPY BIRTHDAY VINCENT VALENTINE!!! Thanks for reading. ^_^