Interlude One: Worth the Wait
He never thought he would ever see the great general of ShinRa’s army, or former to be more precise, dressed casually. But Tseng was definitely glad for the chance. It gave the man a softer look, something a little less capable of bloodshed and instilling fear in the masses. And while he appreciated the tight, black leather, there was something to be said for Sephiroth’s current attire.
Zack must have helped him pick it out because Tseng had the feeling that Sephiroth was ignorant when it came to things of this nature. Casual, intimate encounters outside the necessary interaction of war and the planning of it were more of what Sephiroth was used to handling. He sincerely doubted that the man had ever been on a date in his entire life.
Nevertheless, the powder blue dress shirt illuminated Sephiroth’s eyes, untucked from slim-fitting black slacks, showing off the length of his legs. Tseng had been ogling his fill the entire night, through the entire dinner and subsequent walk on the outskirts of Junon which was comparable to a stroll down the docks. He wasn’t the only one.
Everywhere the two of them went they garnered appreciative stares, from men and women alike. No one had been brave enough to approach them but the effect was all the same. Sephiroth was perfectly oblivious to the stares. Tseng assumed it was because there was no malice in it so his senses didn’t even register them as important. Besides, the anxiety that the former General was suffering probably overrode any paranoia he might have been suffering from.
No one else would have noticed it, but Tseng wasn’t just anyone. He could feel it, the insistent buzz on the back of his senses speaking plainly what Sephiroth wasn’t. The taller male was nervous about their date, about their relationship. And on the edges was a lingering fear but Tseng hadn’t yet deciphered the reason behind it, only assuming that it had something to do with that great darkness he didn’t dare probe.
He didn’t want to admit that a part of him was afraid of that, unconsciously skivvying away from that pulsing mass of something painful in the back of Sephiroth’s mind. He didn’t want to touch it, didn’t want to even so much as look at that seething mass of poison. The name Jenova might as well have been stamped right on it. Jenova and Hojo both. It was enough to make the Turk a little sweaty on the palms.
He blinked out of his thoughts. “I’m sorry,” he replied, a bit sheepish, wondering how long Sephiroth had been trying to get his attention. “Did you ask me something?”
Green eyes watched him before Sephiroth turned his gaze back towards the view. “Have you ever been here before?”
They had paused at one of the observation points, turning their gazes to the rippling ocean and the night sky stretching endlessly above it. A cold breeze picked up, bringing with it the scent of salt and ruffling their clothes. Neither of them minded, however, Tseng actually enjoying the feel of relaxation it brought. The Chaos War almost seemed like a thing of the past, were it not for the rude reminders behind him on the exterior of Junon, gouges and blast marks from demi-god attacks.
Tseng furrowed his brow. “To this particular location?” he asked, shoving his hands in his pockets and stepping closer to the rail.
Below him, he could see the lights of the rest of the city, orange and yellow flickering glows of residences and buildings. He could make out a few people walking around here and there but most were heading home, unwilling to be buffeted by the strong winds. A storm was likely approaching.
The former General shook his head. “No. The beach.”
He gestured below them, towards the faint pale line of sands that signified the beginnings of the shore. It was barely noticeable given that most of it was hidden by structure, but there was a gaping hole in the metal that allowed a certain measure of view. Yet another scar that could be attributed to a mad demi-deity.
“Not this one in particular but I’ve been to Costa del Sol a time or two for an assignment,” he answered, a faint frown pulling at his lips. “Haven’t you?” He had the feeling he wouldn’t like the answer.
There was a moment of silence before Sephiroth sidestepped the question. “I’ve never really liked Junon,” he redirected slowly. “As much as I hated Midgar, I preferred being there to here.”
Tseng placed his hands on the rail, curling his fingers around the cold metal. “Why?”
“It never seemed… alive to me,” Sephiroth replied after a moment, a strange note to his voice. “Everything here is made of metal. The city’s even carved into a cliff. Worse, it was like being imprisoned within the military. There wasn’t a single resident who wasn’t connected in some way to ShinRa.”
The former General had a point. Two of ShinRa’s three training facilities were in Junon as well as most of their weapons stores and the majority of the troops. Before Midgar was constructed, ShinRa’s primary headquarters was Junon. To someone like Sephiroth, born and bred in ShinRa, Junon must have seemed like a metal hell.
“If it’s any consolation, I never liked it much either,” Tseng responded, knowing that Sephiroth willingly sharing anything about his past was a rarity. He thought it only proper to return that tidbit with a piece of his own. “When we were exiled, we ended up here. It was my first harsh reminder that we were no longer in Wutai.”
A moment’s pause.
“Was it difficult?” Sephiroth asked quietly, his gaze never leaving the far rise and fall of black waves on a dark ocean.
There was a clench in Tseng’s heart as images unwarranted attacked him. The smell of the incense. The sound of his aunt’s laugh. The polished wood of the dojo where he had taken his first tentative steps as a swordsman, even at the tiny age of three, still toddling on unsteady legs. The faces carved into a mountain, gods watching over them.
It was the hardest thing Tseng had ever been forced to do. Because to him, leaving meant more than just leaving his home behind. It signified the loss of his father and mother. It was the reminder that the reason for it all was the ability that he had finally learned to control. An ability he still sometimes loathed.
“Yes,” Tseng finally responded, over a lump in his throat. “Yes, it was.”
Sephiroth didn’t say in anything in return. He didn’t have to. He understood the scars all too well, not visible but ten times more painful. He might not have understood the loss of home since he didn’t know the feeling, but there were other agonies that struck just as deeply.
It was what bound them, what strengthened their relationship. Both of them foolish, both of them staggering through the unknown, still bleeding inside from wounds that hadn’t had a chance to heal.
Maybe this was their cure, or at least a chance at one.
Tseng shifted, uncoiling his hands from the railing and turning to face Sephiroth. The wind was causing his dyed hair to flutter around his face. It made Tseng miss the long, silver locks though he understood the necessity. Even now, people still hadn’t forgotten the name of the Great General. There was no telling who still held a grudge.
“Do you want to head back to my apartment?” he asked, inwardly holding his breath as he waited for an answer. “The wind’s picking up.”
There was a moment when he expected a ‘no’. The tension in the air grew thick and choking. Then green eyes turned towards him and Sephiroth nodded.
“Yes, I would.”
Tseng’s heart flip-flopped in excitement at the somewhat hesitant smile he was given.
They took off their shoes at the front door of Tseng’s apartment, leaving them shoved near the hall table. There was an expectant sense to the air that Tseng could feel rattling through his body, making him swallow thickly.
“Would you like some coffee?” Tseng asked, hoping to dispel some of the tension as Sephiroth followed him into the kitchen. His own heart was skipping a beat in anticipation, remembering all too clearly the taste of the other man’s lips.
As Tseng headed towards his cabinets, rifling through the one above the stove where he kept the filters and coffee, Sephiroth hovered near the door. “Yes,” he responded, thinking that something familiar would calm him down. Logically, there was nothing to be afraid of, but it was an irrational anxiety that rode on his thoughts.
He watched the Turk prepare the coffee pot, carefully measured and practiced movements. Sephiroth couldn’t deny that he had been looking forward to this night, a large part of him fully interested in seeing where this relationship was going to take him. And it was nice to see Tseng in something other than his battle garb, surrounded by an atmosphere that wasn’t hovering on a precipice of danger.
Yet, strangely enough, that was where the fear came in. Battle and strategy, throwing himself into defeating the enemy, pitting his skill against a bloodthirsty foe… Sephiroth was well-trained in all of that. But peace andtranquility, taking things a day at a time and stopping to enjoy the simple pleasures… that he couldn’t grasp, that he couldn’t wrap his mind around.
Sephiroth hadn’t been taught the nice things in life, he hadn’t been told that his existence was anything worth enjoying living. He had been crafted a killing machine, the best soldier that ShinRa had to offer. He had eaten because he needed nutrients, had studied the worst that mankind had to offer so he could think like the animal man was. He had trained and learned and bled and slept, not because he was tired, but because occasionally, even his body required rest.
He didn’t know what it meant to be lazy, or to read a book simply because. He had only been in the stages of learning thanks to Zack when Hojo had sent them on that trainwreck that was the mission to Nibelheim. Maybe that was why the crazed scientist had done it. Seeing that someone dared make a human out of his experiment, he knew he had to put an end to it, remind Sephiroth of just what he was. Perhaps that was why, Sephiroth couldn’t even begin to fathom Hojo.
It was scary enough that he could even guess. Because that meant he knew more about the way Hojo thought than he wanted to. That he understoodthe scientist and it terrified him. The fear that he was exactly what Hojo made him to be was never far from his thoughts. And that he could never escape from his instincts, his genes, his training. What if one day, he discovered he couldn’t live with peace and sought out destruction, just to ease the frantic trembling inside of him?
He wondered if peace were even possible for someone like him. If happiness were only just a star above him, forever out of reach for someone with feet firmly entrenched in the concrete of his past.
Tseng was trying to offer him happiness and Sephiroth was absolutely terrified. He had the irrational urge to run out the door, wishing he had the courage to look back.
The former General swallowed thickly, his anxiety only increasing, even as the wonderful smell of roasted coffee beans, percolating hotly, wafted to his nose. Tseng turned to face him and a strange look crossed over the Turk’s face, the same expression he always had when he was sensing something he didn’t particular enjoy. It was the only time Tseng couldn’t completely hide his reactions.
“You can relax,” the Wutaiian said quietly, lifting one hand to tuck a strand of hair behind his ear, a small bit having escaped from his low ponytail. “I’m not going to do anything you don’t want to do.”
Sephiroth allowed a small smile. “It’s that obvious?”
He gestured briefly to his head, shrugging slightly. “Only to someone like me.”
A faint flush spread across Sephiroth’s cheeks before he could stop it, knowing that it was probably some breach of courtesy or he was making some mistake. “I apologize,” he said, his hovering near the doorway probably giving off the wrong impression. “I don’t know anything about-”
“It’s not like there’s some plan you can follow,” Tseng interrupted, cutting off what was likely to be a ramble and Sephiroth never rambled. “Not that I’m any better.”
There was a moment of silence as the coffee pot gurgled behind them, the tension in the room thick enough to cut with the Masamune. A mix of anxiety and need, expectations piled up on top of expectations. It was hot and stifling, breathing down their necks and making every movement something to be crafted, something to be analyzed. Was it just casual, or was it an invitation? The both of them were nervous out of their minds that they would ruin something beyond fixing.
Sephiroth shifted. “I’m thinking too much about this, aren’t I?” he asked, his voice the first to break the quiet.
“I think we both are,” Tseng agreed, stepping away from the counter and approaching the former General. “There’s too much… expectation I suppose is the best word for it.” He could feel it, every shift in Sephiroth’s emotions, stronger than he would have ever anticipated.
Green eyes softened. “Expectation,” he repeated. “Is it really that simple?”
“It’s supposed to be,” Tseng responded, coming to a stop right before Sephiroth. Their eyes met as he tentatively reached up, curling his fingers behind the other man’s head and tugging him down so that their lips could meet in a kiss.
It was just a bare brush of their mouths, lips skimming one against the other, but it was enough to send a wash of heat to Tseng’s groin. Surprise filtered through Tseng’s senses, but not fear. It was encouraging.
Tseng drew away, looking up at Sephiroth and opened his mouth as if to say something, but before he could even speak, the former general closed the distance between their lips again. They kissed, more firmly this time, with increasing confidence. Tseng settled his free hand on Sephiroth’s hip, squeezing gently as he brought their bodies together, inwardly cursing their height difference.
It was nearly intoxicating, kissing Sephiroth, and he deepened the kiss, gingerly exploring the other man’s mouth with his tongue. Sephiroth made a sound in his throat, a nonverbal noise of encouragement as he slumped backwards, his back hitting the door frame. Tseng followed the slouch, pressing against Sephiroth as he continued to merge their mouths.
Their tongues slid sloppily together, the kiss becoming more and more heated. He could feel his cock lengthen in his slacks but even more inspiring was the answering hardness pressed against his hip. Tseng carded his fingers through Sephiroth’s hair encouragingly as the former general tentatively lifted his hands, settling them on the Turk’s shoulders but not to push him away as had been Tseng’s initial belief.
Pale fingers curled against his shoulder as if Sephiroth needed something to hold on to, beginning to respond to the kiss in a more sure fashion, engaging Tseng’s tongue in a gentle duel. It was enough to make Tseng groan inwardly, something about this half-shy and uncertain Sephiroth that made his blood turn to fire.
Sensing nothing but interest on Sephiroth’s part, the anxiety having bled away to pleasure, Tseng’s hand left the taller man’s hip and explored upwards, skating across the soft fabric of Sephiroth’s shirt. With a parting nip to kiss-swollen lips, the Turk dragged his mouth to the hollow of the former general’s jaw, exploring the tender skin with his lips and tongue.
Sephiroth inhaled sharply before inclining his head to the side in silent acquiescence, melting beneath Tseng’s skilled touch. With great care, nimble fingers found the first button of Sephiroth’s shirt and blindly slid it through the small slit. When no protest came, he undid another, baring more of the former General’s chest.
Anticipation curled heavily in Tseng’s flip-flopping stomach as his heart beat a faster rhythm. His lips traveled lower, across Sephiroth’s collarbone and the planes of his chest as he gradually unbuttoned the dress shirt and pushed it aside. His fingers splayed over the man’s taut abdomen and Sephiroth moaned lowly, an incredibly erotic response.
It only made him want more.
Tseng dragged his lips back upwards, sealing them over Sephiroth’s mouth. His hips took up their own rhythm, rocking forward against Sephiroth’s thigh as his cock throbbed in his pants. And all he could feel from the former General was pleasure and content, no more of that anxious fear.
It was a mix of enticement and exhilaration. He plunged his tongue into Sephiroth’s mouth with greater force, memorizing that exotic mix of flavor before dragging his lips back down, tonguing Sephiroth’s throat. His hand jerked on the taller man’s hip, bringing their groins flush together enough that he could feel the throbbing of Sephiroth’s groin.
The former general gasped before he could clamp down on it, fingers flexing on Tseng’s shoulder. “Tseng,” he groaned, his voice full of need and desire and request though he didn’t know for what.
“Tell me to stop at anytime,” Tseng murmured against the other man’s skin, desperately hoping that his soon-to-be lover wasn’t going to murmur ‘no’ right now.
There was a moment of silence filled with heavy breathing before a pale hand lifted and settled on the back of Tseng’s neck, an encouraging motion. “Don’t,” Sephiroth said thickly, voice raspy and shy but still certain. “Don’t stop.”
Tseng untangled his fingers from Sephiroth’s hair, dragging that hand down until it rested on the waistband of black slacks. “The bedroom is more comfortable than the kitchen,” he suggested hopefully, fingers dancing against pale skin in a silent request for permission.
The other man surged into his touch, body shuddering somewhat as he slouched against the door frame. “Where?”
He took Sephiroth’s lobe into his mouth, suckling gently before releasing it with a wet smack. “I’ll show you,” he responded as Sephiroth groaned, eyelids shuddering.
Sephiroth made a noise in his throat, something of acquiescence and Tseng carefully navigated them down the hall, glad that his apartment was small with few obstacles. His lips located Sephiroth’s once again, tongue plunging hungrily within. His soon-to-be lover moaned into the kiss and eagerly responded. One hand tugged on Sephiroth’s belt, paying no attention to the fact that he, himself, was still fully clothed.
It became a blur of motion then. Clumsy, staggering steps towards his bedroom, slowly peeling away clothes as if they were merely obstacles. Sephiroth put up no protest, his lips seeking out Tseng’s as they stumbled through the darkness, blindly navigating their way to the Turk’s bed and tumbling down on the soft surface as if it were their last refuge.
The Wutaiian couldn’t stop touching Sephiroth, running his hands over ivory-pale skin and watching the man come undone beneath him. His lips and tongue explored, tasting anything he could reach. The hollow of his throat. The middle of his belly right above a thin trail of silverish hair.
Every sound he dragged from Sephiroth’s throat, every arch of the man’s body, was a victory in Tseng’s mind. The former General responded to every brush of his fingers, every purposefully laid kiss with such honesty that Tseng was left in wonder. It was as if the man had never been touched like that before in his life, something simple and soft, meant only for pleasure.
That realization struck him like a lightning bolt, shooting straight down his spine and into his groin where it blossomed into fire. It made him hard, the hardest he had ever been in his entire life, including all of those nameless, meaningless encounters. It brought proof to the rumor that Sephiroth had no experience… that the man was a virgin after all.
‘It was entirely unfair of him’, Tseng thought to himself, his lips finding a peaked nipple and drawing it into his mouth. Sephiroth arched, his hips seeking upwards, arousal bumping against Tseng’s still clothed thigh. He was the only one of the two who still had some semblance of clothing, other than Sephiroth’s silk boxers.
It was unfair of Sephiroth to be that gracious, to trust Tseng with that much of himself. The Turk didn’t know if he was good enough to be what the former General needed, but by Orthrus, he was going to try.
His fingers traveled downwards, hooking in the waistband of Sephiroth’s boxers and tugging them. A hand clamped down on his arm and he looked up to find Sephiroth giving him a questioning gaze, mako green eyes clouded with desire as a hint of uncertainty flashed through his senses.
“Just let me,” Tseng murmured, dipping his head down to place a kiss on the man’s belly.
There was a moment of indecision before the fingers uncurled from his arm, falling back down to the comforter. Taking it as permission, Tseng tugged on the man’s boxers, Sephiroth lifting his hips to help. Casually tossing them to the side, he brushed his fingers over Sephiroth’s length, enjoying the strangled sound that caught itself in the man’s throat.
His palm enclosed around the silken heat as he slowly stroked Sephiroth, placing calming kisses on the man’s belly, muscles jumping beneath his lips. His own need was growing steadily stronger, his cock throbbing anxiously in his pants but he held off.
And then Sephiroth breathed his name, hips rocking into Tseng’s strokes. “Why are you still dressed?” Sephiroth asked, sounding half-uncertain but also determined. It was enough to break a man.
So very unfair.
The Turk groaned, his free hand fumbling for his trousers and the zipper, suddenly feeling the clumsiest he had ever been in his entire life. He momentarily released his hold on Sephiroth’s arousal, despite the man’s murmur of protest and practically threw off his clothes and boxers in one fell swoop, throwing them somewhere to the ground behind him.
He didn’t give Sephiroth any time to look or admire before he was swooping down on the man, mouth hungrily seeking Sephiroth’s. Their shafts bumped, gliding slickly together thanks to precum and Tseng groaned again, deepening the kiss. He felt as if his skin was on fire, threading his fingers through Sephiroth’s hair and directing the kiss. Arms wrapped around him, dragging him closer and setting every vein within him ablaze.
He would be lucky if he didn’t spill himself too early, he realized with a bit of surprise. He was thirty-fucking-years old and yet his libido was crashing over him like a teenager in the backseat of some vehicle.
Tseng shoved his hand between their bodies, wrapping his fingers around Sephiroth’s arousal and stroking him, rubbing a thumb over the leaking head. The former General groaned, a sound that might have been the Turk’s name, hips arching into the touch. Their bodies moved and slid together, the room filled with heavy groans and breaths dragged into lungs.
Tentatively, so damned carefully, a second hand crept down to join Tseng’s, their fingers wrapped mutually around their cocks. Tseng broke away from Sephiroth’s lips with a gasp, hungrily drawing in a breath as he buried his face in the crook of a pale neck. His own rhythm was ragged and jerky and he knew he was rapidly approaching the edge.
A gasp and a moan and Sephiroth stiffened, his hips straining upwards as he spilled over their combined hands, coating Tseng’s fingers in his seed. The Turk followed him over seconds later, his mind completely blissed out on pleasure. He dragged his mouth back to Sephiroth’s as he rode out the last tremors, their tongues lazily and sloppily sliding together.
Fingers slowly unwound as pulse rates gradually slowed, Sephiroth’s hand a welcome weight on the Turk’s back. Then there were languid kisses and a welcome, comfortable silence, sweat trickling off their bodies as semen cooled into sticky globs on their stomachs and fingers.
Feeling an unexpected wave of tiredness attack him, Tseng stirred and shifted his weight to the side, planning on sliding from the bed.
Sephiroth stirred. “Tseng?”
“I’ll be right back,” he murmured, pressing a parting kiss to the former General’s shoulder before sliding off the bed.
He padded across the room, slipping into the hallway. He quickly made his way to the kitchen, flipping off the coffeepot with his clean hand and then flipped off the light. He navigated through the dark to the bathroom, appropriating a wet cloth and cleaning his own fingers before returning to the bedroom.
Sephiroth hadn’t moved and was watching the Turk with something dangerously close to relaxation on his face. It was an expression Tseng didn’t think he’d ever seen before.
Tseng held up the washcloth as an offering.
“Thanks,” the former General responded, taking the cloth and cleaning off the evidence of their encounter.
“You can just toss it to the floor.”
The Wutaiian hunted around for his boxers, finding them against the far wall and pulled them on, hoping to stave off future temptation. He snagged Sephiroth’s boxers and handed them over to the other man as he climbed back into the bed, feeling incredibly sated and yet, wanting more all the same.
“I know it’s early,” Tseng began, a quick glance at the clock telling him it wasn’t even midnight yet.
Sephiroth waved him off, slipping into his boxers and tossing the washcloth to the ground as instructed. “It’s fine,” he assured, settling back down on the covers. “I have to be up early anyways.”
It was going to be strange, sleeping with someone for the first time. In all his encounters, Tseng had always crept from the bed immediately afterwards. There was never an intention of something lasting. But now, all he could think about was falling asleep next to Sephiroth’s warmth.
It was so strange.
And so very unfair.
“Early?” Tseng repeated questioningly, moving to lie beside the other man.
He felt it then, the subtle stiffening of Sephiroth’s body. It was enough that he didn’t reach for Sephiroth but remained on his side, staring at the slats of light on his ceiling from the street lamp outside. He was hyper aware of the body next to him, however, his every sense straining to touch and kiss, to embrace what he had wanted for so long.
Sephiroth shifted on the bed, the flash of uncertain anxiety fading with every moment that passed. “Yes. Something’s been picking off the cattle outside of Junon. Reeve asked me to take care of it.”
He dimly remembered the President mentioning something about those occurrences. At the time he had labeled them in his mind as of minor importance and them promptly forgot.
“By yourself?” he asked, wondering why he should be concerned. This wasSephiroth after all. Nearly the most indestructible man on the planet.
It was subtle but he felt it, Sephiroth slowly moving closer, each gained inch filled with uncertainty and courage.
Taking a deep breath, Tseng decided to take a risk. He lifted his arm and draped it over Sephiroth’s mid-section, a mostly harmless touch. A moment of shock and then Sephiroth relaxed.
Tseng allowed himself a smile in the dark that no one could see.
It was enough, this first time around he decided. He would have more opportunities later.
All he could think, as Sephiroth’s breath gradually evened into sleep and somewhere outside, a light rain began to fall, was that Sephiroth was definitely, most assuredly, worth the wait.