Fandom: Kingdom Hearts (sort of)

Pairing: it's Cloud x Laguna, did you guess right?

A/N: After a series of lags during the writing of this story, I post the last three updates in as many days. Go figure.

Firstly, I'd like to say if you haven't noticed yet, I like crack pairings. A lot. My dear Fey has gotten me hooked on yet another one. I know it seems a bit odd, but seriously, this is one of the sweetest, most adorable pairings you will ever see in spite of the age difference.

Also, character ages are slightly. Don't get me wrong, there's still a huge age gap between Laguna and Cloud, but in the very slightly alternate universe that is…everything I write, Cloud is a few years older than Leon, just deal with it. Here's why: I'm a final fantasy fan. Let's assume FFVII and FFVIII were happening at the same time (so that Laguna isn't TOO old, heh). In FF7, Cloud was 21. In FF8, Squall was 17. Kingdom Hearts would have you believe that during KH2, Leon was 26 and Cloud was 23. See the problem? As someone whose played all these games, I just can't accept that Cloud is younger than Squall. EVER. Deal with it, alright? It's probably not actually of any importance, but in my mind, Cloud is older. Squall being older, to me, is just all kinds of weird and backwards and I just don't like it. That said, it's probably not at all important to the story below, but I thought I'd mention it just in case.

BONUS: Second Chances

Sometimes we get second chances
And sometimes we never make it past the first
It really makes you wonder why some things happen when they do
It really makes me wonder why it wasn't me instead of you

Lately, Laguna couldn't sleep. It had nothing to do with the noises coming from the next door down, inhabited by his son and newly inhabited by his son's energetic boyfriend. It also, he thought, had very little if anything to do with the blonde who had apparently decided the couch in his new apartment belonged to him between the hours of 12 and 9 AM or the fact he snored—slightly, a quiet but noticeable intake and outtake of breath and not really all that annoying once you were used to it. Raine's snoring had been much worse, and actually, he liked the soft noise, it made him feel slightly less lonely.

No, Laguna Loire was just having a bit of a hard time assimilating. It was one thing to jump from country to country—to live and love and lose and love again—but knowing his entire world had been decimated and getting used to a place where even the air felt foreign…it was hard. He was getting older and found himself growing increasingly reflective and at the same time increasingly restless. It was a difficult position to be in. He wondered how many more regrets were going to pile up before it was all over and decided he really didn't want to think about that either.

Still, it was a nice night. He leaned on the railing of the small balcony outside his window—more of a fire escape, really, but he liked to think of it as a balcony because it gave him such a great view of the night sky—and sighed. The air was getting cooler. Soon he wouldn't be able to stand out here like this: in naught but a pair of chocobo boxer shorts and a faded white t-shirt. He leaned his chin in his hand and let some of the older memories take him away to kill the time.

"Whenever sang my songs/On the stage, on my own/Whenever said my words/Wishing they would be heard/I saw you smiling at me/Was it real or just my fantasy/You'd always be there in the corner/Of this tiny little bar…" Laguna didn't have the world's greatest voice for singing, but neither was it the worst. Whatever the case, if he knew someone might be listening in he probably would have considered keeping his mouth shut. "Man, those were the days." He liked thinking back to his time in the Galbadian Army now—everything and everyone was so full of potential then and hopes and dreams seemed so much more possible, so much closer to immediate. Now thinking back he could think 'here's a place where I messed up. Here too.' He'd been so lucky to have Kiros and Ward to support him back then—but now they were gone too. Squall was in that happy honeymoon stage of his relationship with Demyx, so he didn't want to hassle him too much. His machine gun was gone, even his old clothes were gone. Well, at least he still had his dog tags.

He looked down and fiddled with them a bit. "My last night here for you/Same old songs, just once more…" he sang softly to himself, continuing with his earlier train of thought. Geez, the nights really were getting a little cold.

Laguna jumped when warm hands draped something over his shoulders and stumbled, almost falling on his ass if not for the strong arm that caught him before he could make too much of a fool of himself. Torn from his thoughts, he blinked up at the sleepy-eyed blonde and his cheeks flared. "Er…"

"You were shivering," Cloud stated by way of explanation as if joining one's best friend's father on the balcony in the middle of the night while you were both in your underwear was a completely normal thing to do.

And when you say
It doesn't matter well it does
And all it takes
Is a mistake to eat your words
Just one more time I think I'll stay with you tonight

Cloud knew it wasn't even remotely normal, especially when the barest touch made his pulse jump into his throat. 'This thing I have for older men is getting out of hand,' he thought. Sephiroth. Vincent. Now Laguna. Well, he'd never admit to that first one but…well, there had been a time, long ago…

Cloud shook his head a bit as if to wake up, but really he was clearing it of that particular line of thought.

Laguna finally righted himself and leaned against the railing again. "Was I," he said quietly, a little shy. "I didn't really notice. It'll be winter before you know it. I hope it snows," he babbled a bit before falling into silence again, burrowing into the blanket a little so that he was only visible beneath it from the collarbone up.

For the first time in his life Cloud found himself searching for conversation. If he ran out of things to say, he wouldn't have an excuse to stay with the man a little longer. "What was that song?"

"Song? Oh! Nothing important, I was just thinking about the past. A woman I knew once wrote it." A little sadness flickered through Laguna's eyes before he smiled at the blonde and said, "but that was a long time ago now." All of those things…Julia. Raine. …they were all gone. Well, at least he still had Squall. Squall had been through so much it was a relief that the worst he had to deal with now was convincing Tifa and Yuffie to leave town when they wanted to spar. He'd found a place to settle down. Laguna thought he'd like to be part of that, but without his world, at an age where he was probably supposed to start thinking about winding down, without Esthar, frankly he was feeling useless and probably annoying.

During the day, Laguna could babble on and on about old stories until his face turned blue, but at night he seemed to be more subdued. Cloud decided he liked both sides of the man, but couldn't make himself say so. If he did, that would be an admission of guilt. "You always do that," he stated after a while, a little exasperated.

Laguna blinked at him. "I always…do that?" he asked.

"When you want to talk you'll tell old stories for hours on end without getting tired or even stopping for breath, but whenever someone asks you anything directly all of a sudden you don't want to talk about it," Cloud said. "It's…I don't like it." He didn't know how else to explain it. He wanted Laguna to talk to him, even if the things he had to say were pointless. He liked the sound of the man's voice, the way he waved his hands around as he talked when he got excited over something. And most especially, he didn't want to struggle for conversation like this.

"I was just thinking about old times," Laguna said, pouting at being called on one of his more irritating habits. He knew he was like that—he could talk a lot, but he always wanted it to be on his terms. "…and all the things I screwed up. Those kind of stories... you don't need me to go on about such depressing things."

"…I wouldn't mind," Cloud answered. The first time Laguna had caught his ear and started babbling Cloud had wondered if he was ever going to shut up, now he wished he'd been paying more attention. He wanted to know the man better, not just better than he knew him now, but better than everyone else knew him. He could imagine Leon's confused stare when he found out and it made his lips almost twitch upward. Almost. "I…like your stories." It was a hard thing to admit. Most of them were ridiculous—fighting real dragons with movie props, ending up hundreds of miles off course because you brought the wrong map…Laguna seemed to censor himself. He didn't tell Cloud the stories he most wanted to hear—the important parts, like why Leon never called him 'father' or 'dad', what his world was like and what his place was in it. It was only trivial nonsense that Laguna talked about—stupid stories about Raine hating peppers and how cute 'Elle' was. He talked about Winhill and killing monsters, how nice the flowers smelled in spring and how in the winter everything was blanketed over in white.

Laguna's smile changed from the usual goofy grin he wore to hide his pain to something more sad and nostalgic. It was such a subtle thing, but the man had such expressive eyes that Cloud found it impossible to miss.

"You're sweet," he said at last, but there was something final in his tone. He appreciated the gesture, but he still wasn't going to talk about it.

Even so, the words made Cloud turn his head away to hide the blush that instantly dashed across his cheeks.

Sometimes we never see the warning
And the voice in your head tells you not to go
It really makes me wonder why some things happen when they do
It really makes me wonder why it wasn't me instead of you

"Come on, let's go back inside before you catch a cold," Laguna said, hand coming out to lightly nudge Cloud's arm and get him to climb back through the window. He didn't know why Cloud felt he had to stay by his side like this when he couldn't sleep, but it was the third time now. He played dumb, but he knew that Cloud wouldn't go inside until he did. He could be a ditz but he wasn't a moron: he chose not to think about it and thereby remain in denial that there might be something there.

Cloud, however, couldn't bring himself to deny it. He knew it was strange—this was Leon's father for crying out loud! And he wasn't at all the type he normally went for—he talked too much and he was quick to laugh and just as quick to cry. He was strong, but also there was something so vulnerable and weak about him. Cloud wanted to protect him and spoil him and that's a kind of feeling the blonde had never quite felt before. And speaking of feeling, there was a warm hand on his arm, and the puny balcony saw that they were standing very close.

Laguna blinked at the unreadable expression on the blonde's face as Cloud admired the way the older man looked in the moonlight. "Clou—" He was cut off by the younger man's lips crushing desperately against his own.

Cloud didn't normally consider himself impulsive. He definitely didn't consider himself daring—especially where matters of the heart were concerned, but he suddenly got this swell of emotion in his chest and couldn't stop himself. He felt like, right here, out on the balcony…if he didn't express his feelings to Laguna now he might never get another chance. He'd spent so much time losing people, they all had, and he'd spent so much time making the same mistakes over and over again. This time, for better or worse, Laguna was going to know how he felt. Having come to that decision in a split second, his body moved before his mind could second guess his decision and before he knew it he'd pulled Laguna tight against him and their lips were together as he thought 'please, please…just…kiss me back… There's something here. I'm sure of it! Between us…there's…something important.'

Laguna's eyes went wide for a long moment, shocked by the suddenness of the kiss and the raw emotion Cloud seemed to be importing directly to his brain through his lips. It was wrong. He shouldn't. But he couldn't deny that kind of need either and sighed against the blonde's mouth before returning the kiss much more gently, arms wrapping around Cloud's neck, blanket forgotten and left to pool around his ankles.

And when you look its gone its too late to turn around
And it's another day facing yourself and the things that you've done

He didn't know how long they stayed like that before they finally parted, gasping for breath with kiss swollen lips, chips stained rose red, warm bodies having forgotten all about the chill night air. He also couldn't remember for the life of him what he'd been about to say when Cloud's mouth swallowed his words.

"Laguna…" Cloud said breathily. "Please?"

Laguna wasn't sure he was entirely clear on what the question was, but he knew 'no' was pretty impossible now.

Cloud climbed back in the window and helped Laguna inside after him. The blanket for the couch was left on the balcony, forgotten as Cloud gently tugged Laguna over toward the bed.

Laguna blushed as he realized the young man didn't plan to waste any time. "C-Cloud…I…"

Cloud stopped, turned, and waited for Laguna to finish. Under that intense gaze Laguna faltered and fidgeted, blushing and scratching the back of his neck a little. "I mean, y'know…I'm kind of…old."

Cloud sighed. So they were going there after all, huh? He cupped the man's cheek and forced him to meet his gaze. Laguna bit his lower lip to fight the pain as his leg cramped up. Damn it all to hell…

"I like you," Cloud enunciated the middle word so as to not be misunderstood.

"W-well," Laguna flustered. "I like you to but—"

Again Cloud cut off Laguna's words by claiming a deep kiss. He didn't want to hear 'buts'. And Laguna was thinking, any more kisses like that and his brain was just going to float away—unable to resist leaning into the blonde to deepen the kiss.

When they parted again Cloud said, "beyond that, nothing matters."

Laguna, as eloquent as ever, answered, "Huh?" He'd forgotten the previous conversation entirely again thanks to that kiss. Cloud decided he liked that it was so easy to silence the older man's uncertainties and soon deposited the brunette on the bed. "You haven't been sleeping well," he said.

Laguna's blush brightened. "I…well…uhm…"

This time, Cloud's lips did twitch very slightly upward for a moment. "Let's see if I can help you with that."

And when you say
It doesn't matter well it does
And all it takes
Is a mistake to eat your words
So from now on I think I'll stay with you all night.

As Cloud's mouth descended on his again, Laguna wasn't entirely sure what that 'help' entailed, but he did know one thing: he didn't feel quite so lonely anymore.

The End

--

A/N: Well, I did it! Another successful crack pairing. Haha. Seriously though, to those of you who've read and enjoyed 'Second Chances', 'Having Heart', and/or any of my other stories, thanks so much. To my reviewers, thank you 3x that amount. Right now, I'm going to turn my attention to a few other projects that really need my attention (primarily some original stories—if there are any editors out there who'd like to beta for me, see my profile for more information on what I'm currently looking for beta-readers for). So, there are no plans for more fanfiction in the immediate future. It doesn't mean I'm on hiatus like I was before (for something like 2-3 years!), but it does mean I want to focus my attention on other projects right now and don't have any new fanfiction in mind right at this moment. I'm sure I'll pop in with another crack pairing when you least expect it—there are a handful I want to try, but don't feel as if I MUST right at this exact moment, soo, we'll see what happens next.

To Reviewers:

Leaf the Invisible: You nailed it darling. I'm glad you approve. I just simply couldn't resist.

Kichi Hisaki: considering you get this far…hah! Yeah, he was an a, but he made up for it eventually and that's all that counts, right?