[Shattered] Children 30

Chapter Twenty- Bring the Columns Down

Time passed, as it was wont to do. And before Sephiroth knew it, two weeks had gone by since the last battle with Jenova. The world moved on. The people began to rebuild, to put their lives back together. Sephiroth rarely left Junon, too consumed with his duties in the WRO. And Tseng was much the same, enough that they seldom found time to spend together, much less alone.

The promised discussion, the promised answers, they’d had little time to pursue either. And their schedules clashed so terribly that one rose from the bed as the other lay down for what little rest they were allowed. Sephiroth tried to divide his time between his lover and his best friend, but Zack was being noticeably absent. Devoting himself to work, no doubt, and demanding whatever Reeve could give him.

Burying his pain in layers of responsibility, anything to keep himself from thinking. Sephiroth understood that feeling all too well. He didn’t blame Zack one bit.

Sephiroth found himself engaged in activities occupying more time than he had to give. Spending time with Denzel, watching over him, assuring him that Marlene’s fate was not his fault.

Speaking with the three brothers whenever the occasion granted him, confirming that there were few things that differed in their shared pasts, cultivating a steady hatred for their father.

Monster extermination when there was something the soldiers themselves couldn’t handle. There were dozens of them, drawn by the scent of death and destruction, sneaking into Junon and attempting to find themselves a meal.

And on one occasion, Sephiroth had even found himself in Reeve’s office, forging the president’s signature and filling out the dreaded paperwork.

It was altogether exhausting, which was why he felt relief crashing over him. It was still early yet and he was already heading home, or to Tseng’s apartment to be more precise. It was the only way they managed to connect, by staying in the same space.

Eating a cooked meal – even if it was take-out – at a dinner table felt even more so. Though he wasn’t appreciative of the stark silence in the apartment. It left him too much time to think. Taking a shower felt like a luxury, the warm water beating at the back of his shoulders and easing some of the tension.

Sephiroth looked forward even more to the soft comfort of his bed, though remembering that Tseng would not be returning tonight dulled his enjoyment.

The sound of a key turning in the lock surprised Sephiroth, who glanced quickly at the hall clock. Only nine in the evening. Far too early for Tseng to be returning. Wasn’t he supposed to leave for Wutai with Yuffie tonight?

Sephiroth’s hands fell from his hair, dropping the towel across his shoulders as the door opened. Sure enough, Tseng stepped inside, and nearly dropped his key in his surprise.

“Sephiroth? I thought Reeve had you on a mission?”

“I thought you were going to Wutai?”

They looked at each other for another minute more before Tseng’s lips curled into a slow smile. He closed the door behind him. “Yuffie took one look at me and decided I would be better served coming here. Practically pushed me off the Valenwind.”


Sephiroth watched as Tseng stepped out of his shoes and stripped out of his suit jacket, hanging it on the hook near the door. His swords and sheath quickly followed.

“Reeve sent Zack after the creature instead,” Sephiroth answered, the enormity of the moment suddenly striking him.

They were together and alone at the same time. Together and alone without the fatigue of a long day hanging over them and the possibility of free time tomorrow. It was almost as if there were other forces at work to ensure this. And were Elena still alive, Sephiroth would have suspected her. But perhaps this was the work of another devious female. Suddenly, Aeris’ offer to take Denzel for the night didn’t seem a coincidence.

The distance between them suddenly seemed minute, and Sephiroth remembered the promise in their last conversation. Implicitly stated, but present nonetheless. He recalled his own determination and though the pall of grief still lingered like a particularly distasteful smell, Sephiroth was resolute to overcome it.

“I’m sensing a plot,” Tseng commented, the same conclusion Sephiroth had drawn. “At least it explains the string of giggles that followed me after Yuffie pushed me off the Valenwind’s ramp.”

“She actually pushed you?” Sephiroth asked, incredulous.

The Turk inclined his head, moving past Sephiroth to the interior of the apartment. One finger tugged at the knot of his tie, loosening it. “A great shove. Right off the ramp. Nanaki didn’t even try to stop her.”

The thought of Tseng’s cousin shoving him off the Valenwind made Sephiroth chuckle. “You can’t tell me you’re disappointed.”

Water ran as Tseng splashed it over his face, his tie lying loose around his neck, shirt untucked. “No, I’m not.”

Tseng paused, glancing at Sephiroth using the reflection in the mirror which he had wiped to clear of fog from Sephiroth’s shower. The single look was full of meaning and it made something inside Sephiroth’s gut simultaneously tighten and heat all at once.

Swallowing thickly, Sephiroth felt his cheeks burn and he edged out of the doorway. “I’ll… uh… let you get cleaned up,” he muttered, suddenly self-conscious.

And before Tseng could say anything otherwise, he slipped down the hall, heading for his own bedroom. He knew that Tseng would eventually join him and the thought produced a trill of anticipation to run through his veins. But of what he wasn’t entirely certain.

Sephiroth rubbed the towel over his hair one last time before tossing it into the basket in the laundry room as he passed. Running his fingers through his damp hair, he stepped into the bedroom. It was in serious disarray, the bed covers rumpled and tossed every which direction, along with various articles of clothing. Considering he’d only had time as of late to wake up, throw on clothes and race out the door, it seemed almost neat.

He set about cleaning up at least some of the mess. Not that it would bother Tseng. But he needed something to do. Something more than sitting on his bed, blushing like a young woman on her wedding night, waiting. His ears caught the sound of the shower cutting on, granting him a measure of relief.

Sephiroth straightened in silence, refusing to think deeper. What would happen would happen and he’d let it rest like that. It was almost hard to believe that a little under three weeks ago he’d been roaming the entire planet, lacking purpose… forgiveness… understanding. Cursed by Geostigma, he hadn’t known what else to do.

And now… things were so much different.

Now he was about to try having sex with his boyfriend. And damn if the thought didn’t make him blush unnecessarily. He was too old to be acting like this.

A sound in the doorway made him turn and look, Tseng standing there, wearing nothing more than a pair of loose pants, drawn tight by the string. They sagged low, revealing the knobby bones of his hips and a thin line of dark hair from navel to where it disappeared beyond the hem. Sephiroth felt something inside of himself tighten at the sight.

It wasn’t that he’d never seen Tseng nude or even half-nude – because he had – but that it had never come with such expectation hanging on the air. Sephiroth’s eyes drank in Tseng’s appearance, and realized that for the first time, he consciously desired this man. It wasn’t just a lust borne entirely by lecherous touches, but an intended sexual thought. Everything inside of him wanted to press fingers to tanned skin and run lips over the flattened discs of Tseng’s nipples. He wanted to watch Tseng flush in arousal, to hear sounds fall from Tseng’s mouth.

To watch Tseng come undone all because of him.

At just the thought, Sephiroth’s breath caught, and Tseng must have read the heat in his stare because he returned Sephiroth’s gaze without flinching. He crossed the floor in only a few steps, discarding the towel to the floor, smelling strongly of his shampoo and soap, making Sephiroth’s nostrils flare.

“We should take advantage of this chance,” Tseng murmured, silver eyes full of heat. “Don’t you think?”

Sephiroth inclined his head, forcing himself to breathe. “Wouldn’t want to waste it.”

Tseng licked his lips, holding his gaze as he reached for Sephiroth’s hand, drawing it up to his mouth. Sephiroth’s fingers twitched as he felt warm breath ghost over his hand before a tongue lapped over his palm. Tingles drizzled down his spine as Tseng turned it over, his tongue tracing the lines of the much hated tattoo.

“Join me on the bed?” Tseng requested, nibbling at the tip of Sephiroth’s fingers.

For all things Holy, Sephiroth would not say no. He wordlessly nodded and followed Tseng as he was led to the bed, climbing first onto the mattress with Tseng crawling along after him. Tseng perched over Sephiroth on all fours, his lips seeking out the tender skin of Sephiroth’s throat.

Gasping, Sephiroth threw his head back, letting that hot mouth do as it will, the sound of their breathing overly loud in the room. He felt his cock lengthen within his pants, straining at the cotton confines. Tseng’s knee pressed against his groin, providing something for Sephiroth to arch against. Heat sizzled across his skin and Sephiroth dragged his hands down Tseng’s bare skin, fingers skittering over long-healed scars.

A hand crept under Sephiroth’s shirt, palm sliding against his flat abdomen. Prickles raised across his skin, a low noise banking behind his lips. Tseng’s breath was hot against his throat as the hand moved further, dragging the cotton higher.

Heart thudding in his chest, Sephiroth gripped Tseng tightly. There was a pressure building inside of him, his cock filling with blood and pushing at the confines of his sleep pants. His hips thrust raggedly upwards, rubbing against Tseng’s leg, desperate for relief.

Tseng panted, teeth dragging a light path. “You’re killing me,” he groaned, drawing back enough to yank off Sephiroth’s shirt, tossing it somewhere over his shoulder.

Sephiroth’s skin prickled where the cool air washed over his bare chest. Tseng’s knee nudged against Sephiroth’s groin, applying perfect pressure to his desperate length. He growled low in his throat.

“Dying is not preferable,” he muttered back, fingers reaching up and tangling in Tseng’s hair, dragging him down for a tongue-tangling kiss.

The Turk lowered himself, their hips colliding, bare chests flush together. Tseng rolled his hips, grinding against him, and Sephiroth arched up to meet his thrust. Heat flushed Sephiroth’s body and he shuddered, feeling the cloth of his pants dampen. Tseng was hot and hard against him, and for once, the feel of being beneath the Turk didn’t alarm him as it used to.

Sephiroth reached up, more an active participant this time, his free fingers finding the hem of Tseng’s loose pants, the only thing he had pulled on after his shower. Sephiroth’s hand slid beneath the band, finding the heat of Tseng’s length. His fingers curled around it, and at the first stroke, Tseng moaned. His rhythm faltered.

“Nnnn, don’t,” Tseng panted brokenly, dotting a trail of kisses across Sephiroth’s bare collarbone. He mouthed the bone beneath the skin.

Sephiroth froze, insecurity lashing at him. “You don’t like it?”

The Turk pulled back, silver eyes regarding him heatedly even as Tseng’s cheeks flushed. “I’m too close,” he admitted with some embarrassment.

Understanding dawned, and mischief replaced the undercurrent of anxiety. Sephiroth ignored Tseng’s requests and picked up his rhythm again, swiping his thumb across the dampened head of the Turk’s cock.

It pulsed in his grasp, Tseng unconsciously thrusting into his fingers. “Sephiroth!” he groaned, his word a plea for more and less all at once.

Sephiroth felt emboldened by Tseng’s reaction, less the inexperienced man that he was and more the man he should be. “To take the edge off,” he murmured lustfully. “You don’t think you can recover?”

It had to be another man saying those teasing, taunting things. Because Sephiroth couldn’t remember being so bold. Strange what strength his freedom from Her could bring. And yet, he wasn’t going to think of that creature right now. Not for a single moment. Because Tseng moaned at his words.

“I take it back,” Tseng returned, his tongue tracing a hungry circle over Sephiroth’s bare throat. “Please continue.”

Thusly encouraged, Sephiroth stroked Tseng skillfully, truthfully one of the only things he hadn’t needed an embarrassing query or research to learn. His fingers encircled Tseng’s hard flesh, feeling each pulse of the Turk’s heartbeat. Precome beaded at the tip and Sephiroth swiped his thumb over it, using it to slick his way.

Tseng’s body became a force in motion, alternately grinding down against him and thrusting into the tunnel of Sephiroth’s fingers. His mouth settled hot and heavy over whatever of Sephiroth’s skin he could reach, one hand clutching onto the rumpled bed covers for balance. The other scraped fingernails lightly over Sephiroth’s chest, dragging across a peaked nipple and making his skin raise in goosebumps. Pleasure flooded Sephiroth’s body, causing his own cock to stiffen painfully.

He hadn’t lied when he said he was already close, and it wasn’t long before Tseng groaned, spilling heat over Sephiroth’s fingers. Tseng’s mouth sought out Sephiroth’s, their lips messily colliding as Sephiroth milked every last spark of pleasure from Tseng.

Tseng broke away from the kiss, leaving a trail of licks across Sephiroth’s jaw. He muttered something under his breath, but Sephiroth didn’t quite catch it, too busy admiring the flushed tint to Tseng’s cheeks. He watched as the Wutaiian stretched his body to reach over the side of the bed, tugging open the drawer to remove a small tube of lube and grabbing a tissue from the handy-dandy box.

Sephiroth felt his heart rate escalate as Tseng returned, crawling over him with erotic intent. Hands roamed, flitting touches designed to arouse, removing the last of their clothes, and Sephiroth sucked in a breath, his body arching towards each faint touch. A tissue wiped Sephiroth’s hand clean before it was discarded over the side of the bed and Tseng’s lips returned, distracting Sephiroth with a particularly deep kiss. He groaned, something fluttering in his belly.

Silver eyes pooled with lust. “Round two,” Tseng growled lowly, nudging Sephiroth’s head back to attack a pale throat with gentle nips of his teeth.

He was pleased when the former General’s body arched up to meet his, hard cock pushing insistently at Tseng. The attraction was shared, a gratifying thought. And Tseng felt he could at least think clearer now. The heat of the prior moment had eased with his first orgasm, and he was glad to take the edge off.

Of course, his arousal hadn’t faded in the slightest, though the sense of urgency had passed. Even now, his cock nudged against the soft skin of Sephiroth’s inner thigh, sensing an eventual destination. And just the thought of it made Tseng twitch with want.

Ten years. He’d waited ten years for this.

Tseng nibbled abdomen, tracing defined muscles. He purposefully ignored Sephiroth’s leaking cock, only giving it the occasional stroke as a part of him enjoyed seeing the silver-haired man on edge. Pale skin flushed in want.

Sephiroth seemed relaxed and Tseng took a chance, drizzling oil over his fingers. He distracted Sephiroth by lapping his tongue across the former General’s peaked nipple and then slowly circled Sephiroth’s entrance with one oiled digit.

When bloodshed didn’t immediately follow, Tseng pressed for more, his own breath short and rapid in anticipation. His finger rubbed across puckered muscle, not yet breaching, his other hand rubbing soothingly across a bare thigh. A fluttery moan escaped Sephiroth’s lips, causing heat to pool thickly in Tseng’s groin.

It wasn’t until he dared push beyond the ring that he felt it, a subtle wash of uncertainty trickling on the edge of his senses. On the outside, Sephiroth seemed perfectly fine. Were it not for Tseng’s ability, he wouldn’t have ever known.

Despite himself, Tseng sighed inwardly. It seemed Highwind had been right, though he was loathe to admit it. And even more embarrassed to remember that particular conversation, wishing to never, ever repeat it for the rest of his existence. It just… no, there were no words to describe that kind of disturbing talk. He was best off pretending it never happened, even as he lightly admitted that it had come into use.

Tseng kissed his way up the planes of Sephiroth’s chest, moving to nibble on a collarbone. His probing fingers shifted to the safety of Sephiroth’s thigh, stroking over pale skin, begging to be marked. There was plenty of time for that later.

“We can always turn things around,” Tseng murmured, his tongue tracing the ridged lines of a visible scar, though he wondered what could have possibly scared Sephiroth. “I’m open to change.”

Sephiroth shook his head, letting out a slow breath, a touch of annoyance in his tone. Directed at himself and not Tseng. “I want to do this,” he insisted, shifting his hips upwards in show, his seeping cock obvious proof.

He had expected as much. There was no doubt in Sephiroth’s leaking emotions. He did want to do this. The lingering uncertainty was entirely unconscious, and Tseng suspected it wouldn’t have emerged outwardly until an inauspicious moment much later. Considering what he had unintentionally gleaned of Sephiroth’s past, it was only to be expected.

Once again, Highwind’s advice rose to the forefront of Tseng’s brain. Reluctantly, Tseng bowed to the wisdom of the pilot’s words.

He pulled back, ignoring the look of annoyance that briefly crossed Sephiroth’s face. “All right,” Tseng agreed, and shifted. “Then get up.”

Confusion replaced the agitation, but Sephiroth obeyed, sliding into a sitting position. Tseng wasted no time in occupying the space where Sephiroth had laid, his bare back pressed against the warmth Sephiroth left behind. He could smell Sephiroth’s scent against his sheets, mingling with the scent of his own soap and cologne. And Tseng couldn’t help but breathe it in, the mixed scents shooting straight to his cock.

A shudder of want wracked his body, and Tseng struggled to hold onto his control, reaching over himself and tucking it below his head.

Sephiroth’s confusion had not eased. “What are you doing?” he demanded, hair falling around his face and across his shoulder in a wave of black and silver.

Despite himself, Tseng couldn’t control the burn that entered his cheeks. He hesitated, eyeing Sephiroth carefully. “This doesn’t go outside the bedroom.”

Blinking, Sephiroth shot him a look that the Turk couldn’t quite interpret – a mix between exasperation, confusion and concession. “Tseng?”

Tseng allowed the sigh he had been bottling free and gestured Sephiroth towards him, pleased when the former General took the suggestion and crawled over his reclined body. Sephiroth straddled him on hands and knees, face lowered to press their mouths together. Elegant angles and hard lines and pale skin, stained with arousal. Sephiroth was truly an arousing sight to behold.

Nibbling at lips already reddened from kissing, Tseng forced himself to speak. “I was cornered by one Cid Highwind not too long ago,” he reluctantly admitted, his hands finding Sephiroth’s hips and silently directing Sephiroth where he intended the former General to be.

Sephiroth scooted upwards, until his knees sat to either side of Tseng’s hips, looming over Tseng like some ancient god carved from soft alabaster. Incredibly enticing as his cock bobbed from between spread legs, rosy with need.

Distracted, Tseng licked his lips and continued, “Who, consequently, was sent by Valentine. I was offered… advice.”

Above him, Sephiroth’s jaw worked soundlessly, brow wrinkling. “Er…”

“Father and son share some of the same scars,” Tseng murmured quietly, his hands leaving the safety of Sephiroth’s broad but well-shaped hips.

Fingers smoothed over Sephiroth’s skin, dancing lightly over a few visible scars. “Inside and out,” he added, more to himself than to Sephiroth.

A moment of stunned silence filled the room, though it didn’t seem to damper Sephiroth’s arousal at all. He blinked. “So you’re trying to tell me that Captain Highwind gave you … sex tips?” Sephiroth demanded, trying his damnedest not to snort out in laughter and also vaguely horrified by the thought. He just didn’t like to equate the two – Highwind and sex – into the same sentence, even if a part of him were aware it happened.

“As I said before, this doesn’t leave the bedroom,” Tseng muttered, trying to stop the flush of embarrassment in his cheeks. “The point I was trying to make is that Highwind believed it was a control thing. Which is why I suggested we switch things around. This is the next best thing.” His fingers flexed on Sephiroth’s hip even as his free hand curled lightly around Sephiroth’s cock.

Sephiroth groaned at the soft touch, his hips unconsciously pushing forward. “I see,” he said shakily, breathing quickened.

Tseng’s fingers danced over Sephiroth’s cock, the former General unable to resist thrusting into his loose hold. He leaned over, pressing his lips to Tseng’s, their tongues tangling sloppily. The heat in the room was tangible, putting up a mighty battle against the ceiling fan lazily turning above them. Tseng clenched his hold on Sephiroth’s hip, grinding up against him. His libido seemed undaunted by his earlier release.

“You recovered quickly,” Sephiroth panted, dragging his fingers through Tseng’s hair, sensitizing his scalp.

Despite himself, Tseng felt a blush flare to the roots of his hair. Sephiroth was supposed to be the so-called virgin here! And yet, Tseng acted as if this was the first time a man’s stripped for him!

“Yes, well…” Tseng trailed off, unwilling to admit the truth aloud. Not quite yet.

He distracted himself by reaching for the oil again, putting it in easy reach. He patted his chest pointedly, catching Sephiroth’s gaze. “Come here.”

Sephiroth lifted a brow. “I’m already here.”

There was something to be said about a lack of experience that was intoxicating. And Tseng wasn’t a strong enough man to deny how very sexy it was. To accrue innocence on a man like Sephiroth seemed unthinkable, and yet there was an untouched part of the man that proved its existence.

“No, I mean scoot up,” Tseng clarified, heart thudding in his chest from anticipation alone. It should have been awkward, but it wasn’t at all. Thank kami for that.

Though obviously confused, Sephiroth did as asked. He shifted until his knees straddled Tseng’s chest. Tseng’s fingers stroked the organ in his grasp, treated to an aroused shiver, as he licked his lips pointedly, the musky smell of Sephiroth’s arousal trickling to his nose. Indeed, every part of him was beautiful.

Only then did Sephiroth seem to get the point and Tseng leaned forward just as Sephiroth pushed towards him. Tseng’s tongue slipped out, lapping across the tip of Sephiroth’s cock and catching a bead of fluid. Sephiroth was rigid with need, leaking copiously, his breathing emerging in harsh, controlled pants.

Tseng looked forward to seeing him abandon that control. He began to suspect that he contained a slightly sadistic side. Sephiroth nearly trembled as he dragged his tongue across Sephiroth’s cock, making Tseng’s own desire surge through his veins. The former General emitted a restrained mood, body shaking from the effort of holding himself back.

Looking up at Sephiroth, Tseng’s tongue made another round of the seeping tip. “Lean forward, hold onto the headboard for me?” he asked, locking eyes with Sephiroth, whose own had darkened with want.

Sephiroth didn’t hesitate, a fact which pleased Tseng greatly. As he stretched over Tseng, the Turk was all too eager to draw Sephiroth into his mouth, wrapping his lips around Sephiroth’s rigid arousal. To his delight, Sephiroth groaned, an incredibly erotic sound that was mix of breath and moan.

Ten years. He’d waited ten years for this. And damn but Sephiroth was worth it.

Tseng’s hands moved to Sephiroth’s hips, squeezing and soothing, as his mouth worked Sephiroth’s shaft. He traced veins and flicked the flat of his tongue against the sensitive head, feeling Sephiroth shudder above him.

Glancing upwards, Tseng found Sephiroth’s eyes had closed. His head hung, hair curtaining his face. But his grip on the headboard was white-knuckled tight, and his hips had already begun a subtle rocking motion. Perfect.

Tseng loosened his hold on Sephiroth’s hip and reached for the oil. Distracting Sephiroth with his mouth, he drizzled more over his fingers. And then he carefully brushed his oiled fingers lightly over Sephiroth’s puckered muscle, nearly holding his breath in expectation.

Sephiroth tensed briefly at the unexpected touch, but relaxed again when Tseng sucked strongly on Sephiroth’s cock. His tongue danced over the seeping slit, distracting Sephiroth wholly. So far so good.

He massaged his fingers over the muscled ring. Sephiroth moaned lustily, pushing back towards the teasing touch.

Encouraged, Tseng opted to press a finger, groaning low in his chest when the single digit was clamped in heat. The anticipated flash of uncertainty didn’t come, and Tseng had to admit that Highwind was most likely right. It did have something to do with control. In the past, Sephiroth had none. But now, he had the capability to call things to an end if he wanted, to pull away and leave. And that made all the difference in the world.

Grinning around his mouthful, Tseng shallowly thrust his finger in and out, pleased that Sephiroth rocked back and forth between the heat of his mouth and the pressure of his finger. Sephiroth gasped in a breath, sweat coating his forehead, his cock swelling in Tseng’s mouth.

“Tseng…” he groaned, fingers flexing against the headboard. “I can’t…”

Recognizing the sound for what it was – a warning – Tseng did not pause, drawing Sephiroth deeper into his mouth and stroking his tongue over the rigid flesh.

“I-” Sephiroth suddenly broke off, shuddering as his restraint snapped and he spilled himself in Tseng’s mouth, the taste of him washing over the Turk’s tongue. The headboard creaked as Sephiroth’s grip tested its durability.

Tseng swallowed him greedily, muscles clamping around his finger. Sephiroth panted, his pale skin flushed quite attractively. He carefully laved his tongue over Sephiroth’s cock as the last of the spurts faded, gentle as he knew the former General was quite sensitive.

As Sephiroth lingered in a hazy aftermath of sizzling pleasure, Tseng took the opportunity to press in another finger, relieved when there was no protest. His own need had reached greater heights, undone by the sight of Sephiroth losing himself to pleasure. It left him faintly dizzy with want.

Muscles loosened around his fingers, still gripping, but not with the same restrictive force as before. Sephiroth had relaxed, his body keyed to the pleasure Tseng provided him.

Dragging his free hand around, Tseng skirted his palm up Sephiroth’s flat belly, fingers splayed across the former General’s chest. He found a peaked nipple, twisting it gently in his fingers. Sephiroth hissed, pushing back towards Tseng’s fingers, his body easing.

“Ready?” Tseng asked, licking his lips in anticipation.

Grey eyes wandered down to him, dazed from his release and drunk with pleasure. “Ready?” he repeated, in confusion, before understanding dawned on him. “Of course I am. I won’t break, Tseng.”

Not quite believing, Tseng gave him a once-over. Sephiroth certainly looked ready, his cock hardening beneath Tseng’s look. His muscles had loosened around Tseng’s fingers. And most of all, there was a complete lack of doubt in his thoughts, they were steady and smooth, like a stream flowing over rocks, though beneath the surface stirred an eddy of desire.

Nodding, Tseng set his hands on Sephiroth’s hip. “Good. Then scoot back for me,” he murmured, only to add a belated, “Please.”

Cheeks reddening, Sephiroth inclined his head, slipping backwards until he hovered over Tseng’s cock, purple with need.

Tseng drizzled oil over his fingers, nearly spilling it as his hands shook with want. He really was acting like a virgin who’d never tasted another before. He grit his teeth as he dumped the lube over his aching shaft, and placed one hand on Sephiroth’s hip.

Looking up, Tseng licked his lips, clearing his throat noisily. “This sounds contrary,” he began, breathing noticeably uneven. “But push out as I push in.”

Sephiroth nodded, and slowly sank down. Tseng groaned, his hand clamping on Sephiroth’s hip as he struggled to hold onto his control. He felt the head of his cock press against the slick ring before it breached, pressing into incredible heat. Throwing his head back, Tseng fought not to come then and there.

He groaned, fully encased inside Sephiroth and thanking Kami and all who would listen. “Okay?” he gasped, hoping desperately that Sephiroth was fine because as it were, all of his senses had short-circuited and he couldn’t sense a damn thing.

“Please don’t ask me that,” Sephiroth returned tightly, but the look on his face didn’t project overwhelming pain, so Tseng supposed all was well.

He curled his fingers around Sephiroth’s cock, giving him an encouraging stroke, and watched as Sephiroth arched into the touch. It was a simple matter for Tseng to withdraw, and then push up into the other man again, tossing his head back at the pleasure that assaulted his senses. It felt like Sephiroth was gripping him, and his strained libido breathed a great sigh of relief.

Tseng wanted it to last. He held romantic illusions of staying buried in Sephiroth’s body, of their skin sliding together and their lips tangled. He wanted to remember this. But the intentions of his mind were no match for the desires of his body.

He felt it building up inside of him, a wave of heat that flooded his systems only to pool in his belly, coiling tensely. His rhythm became more ragged, his control fading as he greedily took in Sephiroth’s expression, aroused by the red that stained his cheeks and the glisten of sweat over pale skin. Sephiroth was close, too. He could feel it in every throb of the man’s cock, and every twitch of Sephiroth’s muscles around him.

Tseng’s release built up inside of him, a massive tidal wave battering at the dam of his control. He sucked in a breath, clinging to restraint, determined to hold out. He swiped his thumb over the head of Sephiroth’s cock, slamming up into the other man. He wanted to Sephiroth come undone first, to feel the former General clenching around him before he released.

Sephiroth groaned, leaning forward and placing both hands to either side of Tseng’s head. He lowered his mouth, sealing his lips against Tseng’s. His tongue shoved insistently past Tseng’s lips, tangling sloppily, and Tseng groaned. He loved Sephiroth being aggressive as much as he loved Sephiroth panting and writhing above him.

Fluid seeped over Tseng’s fingers, the cock in his hold as rigid as steel and swelling with impending release. Tseng thrust upwards, his arousal rubbing insistently at Sephiroth’s prostate. Tseng pushed deeper and deeper into that clenching heat, unable to stop the blaze that worked its way through his body.

Tseng peeled open his eyes, silver darkened with want as he broke away from the kiss to press his lips against Sephiroth’s throat. The other man swallowed and Tseng felt the bobbing of it against his mouth. So sexy. So hot. He couldn’t hold on much longer.

“Come for me,” Tseng murmured, half-plea, half-request and all ardent desire. He dragged his lower lip between his teeth, chewing on it desperately in effort to hold himself back. His hips had a mind of their own, churning relentlessly upwards.

“Tseng, I-”

He watched, captivated, as Sephiroth gasped, body arching, every movement sleek and defined. Sephiroth shook, a low groan building his chest, rattling through his throat, and falling from his lips. Sephiroth’s fingers clenched onto the coverlet as he ground onto Tseng’s cock, rocking between the penetrating shaft and the stroking of Tseng’s fingers. Inches away from release.

Sephiroth’s lips parted, as though to say nothing more, but the word degenerated into a rattling moan as his hips snapped and he shuddered. Release spilled over Tseng’s fingers, some splattering onto his belly as Sephiroth’s body tightened around him.

Tseng’s restraint snapped, the coil of heat in his belly bursting. His fingers clenched on Sephiroth’s hip, chomping on his bottom lip as he succumbed to the pull of Sephiroth’s body. He spilled within that clamping heat, hips raggedly pushing upwards as Sephiroth slumped bonelessly over him, face pressed to Tseng’s neck.

Tremors of pleasure still tingling through his body, Tseng dragged his relatively clean hand upwards, threading fingers through dyed hair. He tilted Sephiroth’s face upwards, sealing their lips together in a slow, languid kiss, heart gradually returning to a normal rhythm in his chest.

Sephiroth ended the kiss, grey eyes seeking out Tseng’s. “I’m all sticky,” he admitted, grinding his hips down emphatically.

Tseng sucked in a breath, the motion too erotic. His libido, which should have been sated by now, gave a twitch of interest. “Join me for a shower?” he suggested, a slow slurry of desire beginning in his groin, only to radiate elsewhere.

He was treated to the sight of a Sephiroth smile, small but definitely there, and recently low in abundance. “No holds barred, is that what you’re telling me?”

Tseng’s hand curved over Sephiroth’s buttocks, despite the release still covering them. “You’re the one that gave me the opportunity.” His lips pulled into a lecherous smirk. “I’ve years to make up for it.”

“I don’t think my body can handle that,” Sephiroth groaned, but even so, Tseng felt Sephiroth’s cock twitch against his hip.

“It can handle more than you think,” Tseng returned, though he took a moment to return to all seriousness. “Thank you for trusting me.”

Embarrassment darkened Sephiroth’s cheeks, his eyes skittering away. “That’s really not something to thank someone for,” he muttered.

“Fine, then I won’t.” Tseng pressed his lips to Sephiroth’s bare throat, licking over flushed skin. “Join me for a shower?” he asked again, though his body seemed to have a mind of its own, hips rolling up against Sephiroth’s.

“If we even make it there,” Sephiroth responded with a teasing groan, though he didn’t pull away from Tseng.

And that, right there, was encouragement enough.

The funeral was held a few days later, on a cool morning where the sun peeked through scattered clouds and the air smelled sweet and fresh. Like a new day. But not even the good weather could break the shroud of sorrow that clung like a wet blanket to the mourners.

Several spoke. Flowers were lain in offering, a brilliant array of colors. Faces were dry, expressions solid and controlled, but only Tseng could tell the truth of the emotion. Even then, he was too absorbed in his own grief to pay much attention to anyone else’s.

Three graves stood in stark contrast to the blue and white sky, one already present, two recently crafted.

And Sephiroth stood, slightly away from everyone, but present nonetheless, wishing he could erase the guilt but knowing it was something that would take time. Logically, he knew he shouldn’t blame himself entirely. He had been told as much from several of those closest to him. But he couldn’t help the stabs of guilt, and he doubted they would ever leave him.

A part of him relished that strong emotion, because it meant he had broken from the mask of SOLDIER that Hojo had trapped him behind. It meant he was the most human he had ever been.

He watched as one-by-one, his friends and family left, wandering back towards Kalm. There would be a night of drinking for the adults, early bedtime for the children. A night of reminiscing and amusing stories to ease the tightness of grief. And in the morning, they would wander their separate ways, still connected by their bonds, but slowly moving on.

The people of Gaia were nothing if not durable.

Tseng was one of the last to leave, his face dry, but his eyes a mask of emotions. His grief had not ended despite the time, but he had grown to bear it better.

Their gazes met briefly, a silent conversation passing between them. Tseng would wait for him at the bar, though he wouldn’t indulge. He understood, without Sephiroth needing to say, that there was one conversation left for Sephiroth to hold.

Zack still stood, his back a solid presence, seeming entirely composed. And Sephiroth had never felt guiltier for being unable to help his best friend.

He waited until the others had left, bonding together in their sorrows. Only then did Sephiroth move from his spot, walking quietly to stand beside Zack, watching the three headstones that marked the burial spots of their friends’ remains.

Their spirits weren’t here anymore, but it was the closest connection any of them had to what was lost.


“I’m sorry,” Zack said quickly, interrupting. His voice raspy, Zack noisily cleared his throat before continuing. “I just thought I would say it first before you could.”

Shaking his head, Sephiroth shifted his gaze to look at Zack. His best friend could have been carved from stone for all the emotion he showed, an expression dangerously resembling the one Sephiroth used to carry. Sephiroth didn’t like the look of it all.

“And what are you apologizing for?”

Zack shrugged. “Whatever you think you need to apologize for. It’s not your fault. It’s not mine. And yet, apologies keep flying around.” He closed his eyes, tilting his head towards the sky. “When are we going to realize it doesn’t ease the pain any? Only makes it worse.”

“I should have been there for you,” Sephiroth said, pushing on despite Zack’s words. He considered this a different guilt than the one surrounding Elena and Marlene’s death. “Since you have always been by my side.

Zack peeled his eyes open, glancing at him from the side. Warmth touched crystalline blue, and something inside Sephiroth sighed with relief. His best friend was still in there, behind the mask. It was just his manner of grieving.

“You sent Aeris, and honestly Sephiroth, she’s the best comfort a guy could get. No offense. But you’re just not soft in all the right places.” Zack’s lips quirked into a wry grin, a shadow of his usual humor, but enough to ease Sephiroth’s tensions a bit further.

His shoulders laxed, a wind rising and stirring Sephiroth’s hair around his face. “Then I am relieved. I… I worry about you, Zack.” Voicing his emotions, something so terribly simple, but nothing was ever simple for Sephiroth. It took more effort than anyone would know to say it so plainly.

Zack looked at him, actually turned to look at him fully, a bit more of the stone mask melting away. “It’s grief, Seph. And yeah, it hurts. Yeah, I’m feeling pretty damn depressed right now. But I won’t drown in it. I promise. So don’t worry. You’ll give yourself ulcers and then where would we be?”

“Hopefully, happily enjoying your lives,” Sephiroth returned easily, hardening his shoulders against the cold. “I think I speak for all of us when I say I am tired of fighting. If I never see another battle again, I will be much relieved.”

Zack turned, rubbing shoulders with him, encouraging Sephiroth to follow. His eyes tracked Sephiroth’s face. “You’re different somehow,” he commented. And at Sephiroth’s confused look, Zack elaborated. “Not wholly a bad thing, but different. Stronger.”

“I have settled some things,” Sephiroth admitted, thinking with a hint of a blush to everything he had finally come to accept. There was a peace inside of him, and he luxuriated in it.

The wind ruffled black spikes. “Settled some things,” Zack repeated, and his lips parted in a true grin, a sharp bark of laughter escaping him. “Just say it like everyone else, Seph. You got laid.”

Eyes widening impossibly large, Sephiroth nearly choked on his next breath. “Zack!”

“No need to hide it,” Zack chirped with a cheer that was – in part – forced, but also wholly honest. He clapped a hand on Sephiroth’s shoulder. “It’s about time. Poor Tseng must have been ready to combust. I’m surprised you’re in one piece.”

Sephiroth found himself completely speechless, his mouth opening and closing but no words emerging. In truth, he did feel a bit… wrung dry for lack of a better word. His ears and cheeks burned with embarrassment, though he ought to be used to this by now when it came to Zack.

It was a return to the normal, though sorrow still ran like an undercurrent, and Sephiroth relished it. Which was why he endured the teasing as they headed back to the bar, and why he returned it in full.

Zack was hurting, but he would get better. Just like the rest of their motley, assorted family. Things would heal with time, and they would move on, just as they had times before. Life continued, even if it seemed otherwise, and this second chance had taught Sephiroth that.

Life was meant for living.


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