Title: Midnight Activities
Author: Sorceress Fantasia
Warnings: fluff, humour, references to FF7
Word count: 4314
Disclaimer: As much as I would love to lay claim to Cloud, I'm kinda scared of Leon's gunblade. So well, I don't own Kingdom Hearts and its character, and neither do I own the various Final Fantasies and their characters.
Note: This fic is written for my friend, Hanae da Firefly. Happy birthday, hon.
Summary: Share a room with Leon? No problem. Share a bed with Leon? Fine. Use Leon as a pillow? No frigging way. Now, if only Cloud could get his body to listen…
The first time it happened, Cloud had fallen off the bed. In a wild flail of limbs, wide eyes and choking gurgles, he had backed away far too hastily to realize that he was already too close to the edge of the bed.
The second time it happened, he did not fall off the bed. Oh no, he didn't. Instead, after learning his lesson the hard way just the day before, he decided to not just back away but also to extract himself from the sticky situation swiftly. Therefore, he hit his head against the head board. Another lesson learned.
The third time it happened, Cloud had yelped and very nearly alerted everyone in the house to his compromising situation in bed. It was only with a lot of luck, which included an exploding coffee machine, a lot of coffee and no sugar that Cloud's last shred of dignity was salvaged, albeit already in tatters.
The fiftieth time (or was it the fifty-first?) it happened, Cloud just sighed, groaned in a mixture of disbelief and resignation, and shrugged off Leon's embrace and crawled out of bed. He could not even bring himself to be annoyed when Leon merely raised a tired eyebrow, stretched lazily while massaging his numb arm, threw a nonchalant 'good morning' before strolling out of his room.
…No/their/ room, ever since a shortage of living space had forced Cloud to bunk with the taciturn brunet. Cloud still suspected that this was Yuffie's intentions all along, even if she had claimed that leaving a stick of dynamite in his now-demolished room was just an accident. It had happened during a fight with Cid, the grouchy wind-bag as she called him, and she had been to caught up to realize that she had actually tossed a stick of dynamite that was actually lit up.
Ha! Accident! Right.
It was probably Yuffie's idea of a punishment for confiscating her weapons the day before.
To be completely honest, the reality of rooming with Leon wasn't as bad as the idea. In fact, Cloud thought that it was actually pretty okay and it had its perks. At the very least, Cloud no longer had to worry about a malfunctioning alarm clock, whose malfunction was caused by a rather unconscious hand slamming down on it. Leon, on the other hand, usually fought back.
Another thing Cloud had grown to tolerate –which in his book was just another word for 'like' and much manlier- was their short conversations in the few moments before sleep claimed them. Leon was, quite surprisingly, a very interesting person to talk to in those moments, when his sense of logic and usual restrain apparently fled his mind. Or maybe they just fell asleep before Leon did, as those were the times when the brunet would tell him how his greatest wish was to finish up the reconstruction and then build his own house with enough space for just two people. And it had to have an extra large bedroom. Cloud had vaguely wondered if Leon wanted to live with a particular someone he liked but did not question his friend.
Or maybe it was due to the fact that Leon's current room was so small it had space for only one bed and one couch. They had briefly considered tossing the couch away when Cloud's room got demolished quite thoroughly so they could drag another bed inside, but there was no point; even without the couch, there was still no space for another bed.
So the solution was for one of them to take the couch. But Leon was too much of a gentleman –though one usually couldn't tell by simply looking at him- to let Cloud sleep on the small couch, and Cloud was unwilling to let the brunet give up his bed either.
That ended up with the two of them sharing Leon's bed.
It wasn't too bad initially. The big was big enough for them to take one side of the bed each, so they didn't have to touch the other through the night.
Unfortunately, while Cloud's gentlemanly ways forbade Leon from crashing on the cold, hard couch, his not-so-gentlemanly warmth searching ways during his sleep was probably causing Leon to regret his decision of taking up Cloud's oh-so-gentlemanly offer.
When the brunet had given in and agreed to share the bed, he'd probably never expected it to come with a free, warmth-hogging cuddle bug, courtesy of one very blond, very cute-in-bed Cloud Strife.
Cloud seriously couldn't understand why he never knew about this… highly embarrassing habit of his. It wasn't as though he had never slept in the same bed as someone else before, and never did he try to hug his mother in his sleep! And why couldn't the person in his bed when this embarrassing habit was revealed be someone who… who was… who could take a joke? Someone who could look at a joke in the face, smile, shrug it off and then forget about it immediately after?
Oh no, he wasn't so lucky. He never was.
Which probably explained why he woke up on the first morning after, and found himself spooned up and happily snuggling in Leon's arms like a sweet teddy bear who was probably one brain cell away from sucking on his own thumb.
Of all the people! Of all the damn people in this huge universe, it just had to be mister-leader-of-the-Hollow-Bastion-restoration-committee-and-don't -call-me-Squall-if-you-value-your-life-Leon. The alpha male who had to assign jobs to everyone just to prove he was /the/ alpha male. The same guy who had threatened Yuffie with castration for hugging him too much, disregarding the fact that Yuffie couldn't exactly be castrated. It was the thought that mattered.
Thank all the higher-ups that had looked out for him and bless all his stars, Cloud's only injury that morning came from falling out of bed in shock. Leon had merely rose sluggishly, with nary a raised eyebrow and frown, blushed lightly, fixed the blond with an even, measured gaze before he said a wary 'good morning' and quickly shuffled out of the room.
There was a huge crash afterwards in the kitchen, like someone had walked into a whole lot of pots and pans, but Cloud wasn't sure if that was Leon's response to their new-found problem.
Cloud still found it difficult to wrap his mind around the possibility of himself being such a cuddle bug in his sleep. The very idea, the very notion, sounded like one of Scheherazade's tales in Arabian Nights: farfetched, mind-boggling and friggin' impossible.
But the impossible had happened yet again the next morning, when Cloud woke up to steady heartbeats and strong, warm arms keeping him in place.
It seemed that both of them had the cuddle bug syndrome that surfaced only when they were sharing a bed with someone else, something that neither of them admitted out loud and only admitted inwardly after the… forty-fifth morning. And it was embarrassing to high heavens, to wake up in all those… compromising positions morning after morning. Alright, it wasn't… so compromising that there were missing clothes and brushing groins, but still! Cloud didn't want to give Yuffie a chance of snapping a photo of him cuddled up against Leon, with his head resting in the nook of Leon's neck or chest! The worst of the worst was when Leon had to wear a turtleneck for a few days due to a hickey that was just too well-placed. Thank god the brunet didn't seem too angry or upset over it, though Cloud spent the first day ducking behind various pieces of furniture whenever his Leon-senses tingled.
Despite that, Cloud decided that he had to do something about it or lose the rest of his dignity. Which wasn't much, but well… a few shreds was better than nothing.
There. With a whole line of pillows and bolsters between them in bed, there was no way he was going to cross over to cuddle up to the brunet in his sleep. When in doubt, barricade yourself! Cloud could still hear his SOLDIER friends laughing off this piece of advice from their commanding officer, but now, he thought it was the only piece of advice that actually made sense.
And Zack had given him plenty, though it mostly ran along the lines of 'When you're off duty, don't get drunk with Reno of the Turks because he'll cross-dress you and pimp you off for peanuts' and 'Don't ever call Sephiroth's hair grey because he'll get a gleam in his eyes that's brighter than the gleam of the fluorescent light on his masamune, and demand that you call it silver'. Seriously though, the usefulness of all those advice Zack had tried to give him paled in comparison to this one. Barricading himself had never sounded more tempting.
Granted, he didn't exactly have enough pillows and bolsters to build an impregnable fortress, but beggars weren't supposed to be choosers.
But when morning rolled by lazily, Cloud decided that on some occasions, beggars /had/ to be choosers. How he had managed to kick away /all/ those pillows and bolsters and be completely unaware of that, he had no idea. The thing he did know, however, was that another shred of his remaining dignity was waving him a teary farewell as Leon sighed softly and tried to bring circulation back into his right upper arm (which Cloud had apparently substituted for a pillow).
As Cloud tried to hide his blush –a result of embarrassment, Leon's heated gaze and the fact that the other man's shirt was missing- he mentally counted the scores.
Current score: Bad sleeping habits 51(?), Cloud 0.
Plan 2 was a lot easier to carry out, and probably hell of a lot more foolproof too. The only problem was: it was friggin' uncomfortable, since it involved bunking out on the small and hard couch in Leon's room.
Leon had given him a weird look, but shrugged it off and climbed into his own bed for some well-deserved rest after a long day.
Strangely enough, Cloud woke up the next morning alone in Leon's bed, and when he bolted upright, he inwardly cringed at the sight of Leon dozing on the couch, looking more haggard and tired in all the time Cloud had known him. A flimsy blanket, the one Cloud had taken for himself for his night on the couch, barely covered him. Instead, it had mostly crumpled up into a bunch at Leon's thighs, and most of it was hanging off the couch, lightly sweeping across the floor.
Sometimes, Cloud thought, Leon took his leader position much too seriously. And he was just too nice. And Cloud was a piece of deadweight in his sleep who totally didn't register Leon switching their positions at all.
That night, Cloud crawled back into their shared bed, if only to make sure that Leon wouldn't graciously give up his bed to him again. The brunet just silently welcomed him back with a smirk, as though he knew it was just a matter of time before Cloud would give in again.
Current score: Bad sleeping habits 51(?), Cloud 0…
…And Leon 1.
Plan 3 involved ropes. A lot of ropes, leather restraints and other miscellaneous items that helped Cloud resemble a crab that was awaiting a trip into the kitchen: all bound up like a neat little parcel. Surely, there was no way he was going to break free and still snuggle up to Leon.
…Apparently, he had sorely underestimated his own ability to perform a Houdini with the help of a weapon, though he still had no idea how he had managed that. His sword was at least a good feet away from the bed. And really, Cloud had also discovered that using ropes, leather restraints and other miscellaneous items to bind himself while in bed was not a good idea when there was a resident busybody in the house.
Thank god Leon had remembered to lock the door the night before (a habit one had to develop when living with said resident busybody), so Yuffie did not manage to snap any photos for blackmail. Still, Leon's appraising gaze and the fact that the brunet had lingered around the room much longer than usual before going to wash up was more than enough embarrassment already, and Cloud really didn't need any more.
Current score: Bad sleeping habits 52(?), Cloud 0.
On hindsight, plan 4 was destined to be a total failure. Of course, a lot of things usually looked rather idiotic on hindsight, but the more idiotic they looked on hindsight, the cleverer they normally seemed before actual implementation.
It made Cloud wonder what had made handcuffing his hands to the bedpost seem clever. At all. And now the bed was lacking one bedpost. Fantastic.
He still thanked whoever was kind enough to look after him that Leon always remembered to lock their bedroom door. And that he helped dispose of the handcuffs in a timely, silent, and if not more than a little amused, manner.
Dignity, man. Dignity.
…Was his old room really unsalvageable!? They could just move Leon's couch to that old room and let him sleep there, right? So what if the dynamite had blown away all the walls and the only thing that had prevented the rest of the house from going as well was Merlin's magic that had been cast one second too late? Cloud had slept in less bearable conditions!
Still no? Really? No second chances?
Couldn't Yuffie graciously give up her room and bunk with Aeris? She was the one who had demolished his room in the first place after all!
…No wait, she was already bunking with Aeris. Damn.
Flopping down onto bed, Cloud mentally reviewed the number of perceivable and unperceivable failures, and he had to forcefully suppress the groan that was threatening to spill out of his lips. The current scores were so pathetic they could burn the eyes if one looked at it for more than a second.
Bad sleeping habits 65(?), Cloud 0.
Was the world trying to tell him something? Or maybe this was Zack's much-too-helpful advice during a mission at Icicle Inn finally coming to fruition: if you're feeling even a teeny weeny bit cold, cling onto the nearest heat source and for Ifrit's sake, don't let go!
A couple of his bunkmates did tell the blond that he could be a little slow on the uptake sometimes, which might explain why it took so many years for the advice to actually sink into his head. It was a little damaging to his self-esteem…
Then again, those same guys had also told him that Zack's advice should always be taken with a pinch of salt, especially when the SOLDIER was also the same guy who had flirted with a snow lady.
Cloud chuckled softly. Despite giving all those advice, Zack was also the one who had never abided to any of them.
A harsh whisper broke Cloud of his reverie, but it was quickly hushed and stifled silence set in again. Cloud sighed. No doubt that was Cid on his fifth mug of tea. That man was addicted to tea, no matter what he said against it.
Light was still peeking into the bedroom from under the wooden door, whispers running back and forth between those who were still finalizing the plans for a power station that would provide Radiant Garden with a new source of energy. It was Cid's pet project with some input from Tron, and Leon had also been drawn into it as per his leader status, which explained why those two had been sleeping slightly later than usual for the past few days.
Cloud had tried to stay up and help, but the plans reminded him too much of mako reactors he backed out as quickly as he had stepped in. Leon, sensing his discomfort, just ushered him to go to sleep instead of waiting up for him.
Stretching his head, Cloud peeked at the clock perched on the nightstand. Its numbers, glowing with a faint green light in the darkness, stared back at him. Some time after 12, it read. Leon was usually already in bed by this time.
Compared to Zack, Leon was an 'all-rules and routines' type of guy. Wake up at 6 in the morning, wash up for 5 minutes, enter the kitchen for a cup of coffee at 6:05 (and the coffee had to be brewed just the right way or he'd never drink it), go out to train outside their house before having breakfast with everyone else at 8 and starting actual restoration work at 8:45 exactly. Not one second more, not one second less.
And ever since Leon had taken on the role of leader of the restoration committee, the brunet seemed to value rules more and more. Curfew was 11 at night, no going out alone after 8, no going out without letting someone else know of your whereabouts, no wasting resources… The rules went on and on, so much so that Cid had sarcastically suggested Leon write a book on it, and Cloud didn't doubt for one second that Leon did not give that idea serious thought at all. It was almost anal.
But somehow, Cloud thought there was something rather… endearing in Leon's rule-biding ways. That man got flustered when rules were broken, like the last time when Yuffie's pet chocobo, a little red critter whom she lovingly called Vinnie, had wandered off and she burst out of the door at night, alone, to look for him. Leon, the over-protective elder brother figure, had almost popped a vein when he found out later, especially when he realized that Yuffie had forgotten to take her weapon with her in her haste.
Or the last time when Cloud himself had ignored curfew in favour of a bit of time alone in Ansem's old castle, the brunet had came over personally to drag him back to their room.
Leon always meant well, even if he did not always express himself well enough to show his concern. He was rather… cute in his worry.
A hot blush attacked Cloud's face. It seemed that sharing a room with Leon was having side effects. Serious side effects too. Maybe it was due to prolonged exposure, but somehow, Leon was starting to look really, really attractive. In fact, if Cloud was to be completely honest with himself, Leon had always been attractive. It was just that now that they were sharing a room /and/ a bed, it was getting really difficult to ignore said brunet's attractiveness.
And the way Leon had /looked/ at him on the mornings…!
Heated was an understatement. Though to be fair, there was a lot of amusement mixed in the heatedness as well, but that wasn't the point. The point was: Leon's gaze lingered on him in the mornings, especially those two mornings when Cloud had tied himself down with ropes and handcuffs the night before. The first morning when they had woken up together in a spooned up mess was also particularly memorable, since Leon had fixed him with such an even, measured gaze while his ears were already pink. And those gazes made Cloud blush like a young teenager again.
At first, Cloud had tried telling himself that it was a trick of the eyes. There was no way Leon-mister-leader-and-alpha-male was eying him like he was a piece of choice meat. Uh-uh. No way.
Then came the infamous hickey incident. Cloud thought he could just combust from embarrassment and be written down in the annals of history as the only person to ever die of mortification. Though Leon had never explicitly demanded an apology of any sorts from Cloud, he did, however, manage to extract a promise from the blond to 'take responsibility'. Cloud had wanted to just loan him his turtlenecks and be done with it, but Leon cajoled him into acting as a human bolster for one night due to 'extreme temperatures'.
Cloud still believed that Leon was kidding him about the cold because, seriously, he himself had been so warm he nearly burned something. His brain cells, probably.
He still had no idea what Leon was thinking.
Suddenly, the door creaked open and a ray of light struck Cloud in his face. On instincts, he closed his eyes, careful to not exert too much force to maintain a façade of naturalness, and evened out his breathing. It wasn't difficult at all. He'd had plenty of practice with Zack, since pretending to be asleep was one of the few ways that actually discouraged the brunet from dragging him out for a round of drinks or two in the middle of the night.
There was a bit of shuffling around, then the sound of a jacket hitting the ground, quickly followed by a fainter sound. Probably Leon's shirt. The closet door opened and closed with a raspy cough. And then, Cloud felt the bed dip. Time for sleep, he thought. Despite all the awkward situations and embarrassing moments, Cloud had already gotten used to sharing the bed with Leon, gotten used to the little dip in the bed because of the other's weight, gotten used to hearing the other man's breathing and sighs. It was becoming a little tough, to sleep without his presence.
If only Cloud could stop cuddling up to Leon during his sleep and keep his clothes on in the morning, then it would be quite perfect.
He sighed contentedly, almost amused by the thought.
Still lying on his side, Cloud felt Leon shift. He gave not much thought to it, chalking it up to a mere change in position to get more comfortable, until he heard a breathy whisper caressing the shell of his ear.
"Having sweet dreams, Cloud?"
If Leon knew that Cloud was awake, he showed no signs of it. The blond suppressed the urge to stiffen in surprise, and instead, continued to feign sleep with his even breaths and relaxed body. Despite the impulse to get out of bed as soon as possible, another part of Cloud wanted to know what Leon was up to. Maybe it would shed some light on Leon's weird behaviour recently? The brunet never struck him as the type to talk, much less whisper, into someone's ears.
Something wasn't quite matching up here.
Before Cloud even had time to try and analyze what that 'something' was, he felt himself heaved onto Leon's chest. Still in shock, he barely registered the arm that crept down to his waist to hold him in place, at the same time when the urge to yell 'what the-!?' was rising up in Cloud's throat. The words were stuck in his throat like fish bones when Leon's other hand wove into his hair, giving him a calming stroke and pet.
And then there was a soft pressure of lips against the top of his head, and Leon finally settled down to sleep. He was out like a light in a matter of minutes.
Cloud spent the same few minutes repeating the words 'what the-!?' like a mantra in his head. So many things were explained now Cloud was finding it hard to bend his mind around it.
Leon was a cuddle bug.
Leon was /the/ cuddle bug.
Leon had kissed him.
Leon had /kissed/ him.
… Leon was a pervert who molested him in his sleep? But then again, Cloud had been the one who gave him the hickey. So they were both closet pervs?
What did Aeris say about this type of situations? Suppressed, male hormonal activities? Was that it?
And what was Cloud supposed to do? Confront Leon? Move out of their room as soon as possible and sleep in the Gummy Ship? Ask for advice from someone?
No… Cloud vaguely recalled a piece of advice, courtesy of Zack in their Shinra days: when you're tired, cold, and confused, just screw it and sleep. If the problem's not going to kill you, you can always solve it tomorrow.
He went to sleep. Leon-pillow was really comfortable anyway.
The next morning, Cloud just updated the scores.
Leon 65, Cloud 0.
He also took another piece of Zack's advice: if you can't beat 'em, join 'em! That resulted in him latching onto Leon for additional warmth the next night, with an offhanded comment about the night being extra chilly that evening.
Leon had raised a suspicious eyebrow, but the smirk that had been pulling at his lips won out eventually and he just took Cloud into his arms again.
"About time you gave in," he said, the moment Cloud laid his head on Leon's chest. And there was another kiss dropped on the top of his head.
One more morning after, Cloud could only blink at the breakfast table when Aeris, Yuffie and even Cid congratulated Leon on finally getting through to "spike's thick skull" while Merlin just stroked his beard and chuckled. He blinked harder when Yuffie laughed about his old, now-demolished room, and how hard it had been to talk ol' Merlin into the scheming.
Aeris giggled and cited the possible bad repercussions of suppressed, male hormonal activities –ah, so Cloud had remembered this part correctly- as the reason for her joining in Yuffie's plans.
Almost indignant now, Cloud had wanted to protest his mistreatment and for the tattered state of his old bedroom. It was at that moment when Leon shot him a satisfied smirk, and he quieted down.
Instead, he grinned. His bunkmates /did/ tell him he could be a little slow on the uptake sometimes, but Cloud reckoned that it didn't really matter too much anymore, not when he had a feeling Leon was going to make things really obvious from now on.
Author's note: Ah, this is actually an announcement for my other Leon/Cloud fic 'Vanilla', just in case readers of that fic are reading this fic too... Anyway, due to RL, I have not been able to update that fic at all. Hopefully, I'll be able to post up a new chapter at the end of November or early December. Please continue to support the fic! XDD
On the other hand, please review for this fic too if you enjoyed it! Thanx!