Title: First Moments
Author: Sorceress Fantasia
Pairings: Leon/Cloud, Zack/Aeris, some Cloud/Zack, past Leon/Rinoa
Warnings: AU, romance, drama
Word count: 3686
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.
Summary: Cloud's first crush was Zack, but his first boyfriend was Leon. It was mostly an accident and a misunderstanding, but Cloud and Leon saw no reason to end their relationship because as things went, it was too easy to fall in love with each other. Leon/Cloud
Cloud's first crush was Zack.
Zack was his neighbour who lived just across the street, in the same type of dainty little houses that lined the sides of the avenue. He was the first one who'd hopped over at the sight of a big van and a lot of cardboard boxes. The boy had grinned widely at the apprehensive blond standing beside a huge carton of books and clothes, and held out a hand with an invitation for some afternoon snacks. Though Cloud had been hesitant, he took the offered hand.
Through their school years, Zack was always the one who led Cloud around their schools on their first day of classes, introduced him to his other friends so Cloud would not be able to keep to himself, helped him with school assignments and got the other kids who tried to snatch Cloud's lunch money good.
Outside of school, Cloud often found himself shooting zombies with Zack in the nearby arcade or filling their growling stomachs with free samples of the newest food products in the supermarkets. Occasionally, they'd hitch a ride with Zack's father, and in that beaten old truck, they'd travel out to the countryside for a fishing trip, and they'd spend their day competing to see who managed to reel in the biggest catch.
Growing up together, it was so easy to fall in love.
And so Cloud's first crush was Zack.
Cloud's first boyfriend was Leon, though the issue was somewhat up for debate.
Despite the fact that Cloud had always nursed a huge crush on Zack, he'd never gotten the courage to confess, and by the time he'd wanted to, Zack had already gotten himself a girlfriend by the name of Aeris. Aeris was lovely and sweet, Cloud couldn't deny that, and everyone thought that just standing together, she and Zack looked every bit the perfect couple.
Days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months. Cloud could only smile with them and despair alone.
And then, a chance appeared. His only chance, or so it had seemed at that point in time, was a temporary lull period between Zack and Aeris, when the couple had decided to have some time to themselves and cool down following a big argument.
But Cloud hadn't realized that the arrangement was a temporary one. He'd thought, in a grave misunderstanding and a bit of desperate hoping, that the arrangement signaled a permanent breakup. In hindsight, perhaps he should have double-checked and not chalked up Zack's lingering glances at his photos with Aeris to some habit, but in his haste to confess, he didn't.
What he did instead, was to call Zack out and said what he'd always wanted to.
"Zack, I have this friend… he's always liked this other guy but never knew what to say to let him understand. And the other boy was attached, so my friend never got a chance to. But this other guy recently broke up with his girlfriend, so I thought… I thought I'd help my friend out and well… tell the other guy that my friend likes him. And my friend… he'd like to have dinner with this other guy tomorrow night. Can you, can you help me with it? Do you think the other guy will come?"
Cloud never counted on Zack to misunderstand, but Zack did. He and Aeris were still not over, so he couldn't be the guy Cloud liked. And even though Cloud had said his story under the guise of a concerned friend, it was so obvious to Zack that it was just a farce for Cloud to talk easier.
"Of course. I'll accept the dinner date on behalf on this other guy. Don't worry. He will be there tomorrow," he said.
Cloud's joy and excitement was short lived, for while someone did turn up the next day, it wasn't Zack. Instead, it was one of Zack's friends, and someone Cloud wasn't too familiar with but frequently saw around in school.
Squall Leonhart, or Leon as he preferred to be called, looked every bit the coerced dinner date that he was. To Zack, Leon fit the bill of 'the other guy' that Cloud had described: he was the only one that he knew was at least an acquaintance of Cloud who'd recently broken up with his girlfriend. But unfortunately, Leon wasn't 'the other guy'. Zack was. But Leon was the one having dinner with Cloud.
Dinner was awkward, conversation was forced, and when the bill finally arrived, they both heaved a sigh of relief.
At the doorsteps of Cloud's house, where they found themselves after Leon walked Cloud home, Leon broke the silence and told Cloud bluntly that he wasn't interested in a new relationship. He'd just broken up with Rinoa, his now ex-girlfriend, after all, and he'd only accepted the dinner date because of Zack's incessant pleading and wheedling. In a strange cross between amusement and frustration, Cloud told him his story, his misunderstanding, and how he now knew his was a hopeless case of unrequited love because Zack still loved, still had Aeris.
That was when Cloud and Leon both had an idea. The same idea.
They would date. They would be boyfriends. And they would ease Zack's worries about Cloud and never find out about Cloud's crush on him, and also let Leon more or less spite Rinoa.
It was their perfect plan. They could always break up later.
And so Leon became Cloud's first boyfriend.
Their first test came in the form of Zack, when a few days into their dating, the brunet pointed out the lack of tactile contact between the two of them and asked Cloud tentatively if they were alright.
Realizing their mistake, they quickly remedied the problem. Within the next few days, everyone in school noticed the furtive glances they gave each other in classes, the way they always held hands while walking from classroom to classroom and yet quickly sprung apart in well-timed bouts of embarrassment whenever someone pointed it out, and how Leon's textbooks started turning up in Cloud's locker and how Cloud's writing material ended up in Leon's book bag.
If anybody noticed that they acted like how Leon and Rinoa used to act, nobody said anything. Not even Rinoa, who was already too wrapped up with her own life and her desire to secure a seat in the classrooms of the best college in the country, said a word about how Leon used to look at her the way he now looked at Cloud, though she'd sometimes give them both weird looks. And everyone else just assumed it was Leon's way of dating.
Therefore, they more or less aced their first test.
Their first date was actually a double-date, because after the earlier lack of tactile contact from Leon, Zack wasn't about to let his childhood friend risk dating a withdrawn boyfriend who was stingy with affection.
So Cloud and Leon's first date outside of school was a movie trip with Zack and Aeris, who'd patched up, some say, mostly because they were both worried for Cloud, somewhat like a coalition of mother hens.
In any case, the couple made sure those two were given nothing to fret their pretty heads over. A jacket draped over Cloud's shoulders to keep him warm inside the cinema, a reassuring hand and laced fingers once the horror movie became, indeed, horrifying, and the last popcorn popped into Cloud's mouth upon fingers wandering inside the popcorn bucket. No, there was little for them to worry about, not when Cloud took the jacket gratefully and still snuggled up against Leon's side, squeezed the reassuring hand with a heartening smile, and offered the second to last popcorn to Leon.
No, what was there to worry about?
Their first double-date was, as a result, a rousing success.
Then came their first date alone, and whoever said that these first dates were awkward had obviously never met Leon and Cloud. Or maybe it was because Cloud's first date with Leon wasn't really a date, but rather, a meeting for them to one, show whoever saw them on their date that they were, indeed, dating, and two, allow them to formulate their next step.
With this idea in mind, they chose to have their first date in Seventh Heaven, the favourite after-school haunt in the vicinity. They were careful not to go overboard with their show, and even made sure that their shaved ice dessert came with two spoons after Yuffie, their classmate who waited tables in the shop, tried to skimp on that. It was, in her words when Leon made her get a second spoon, "a disappointing move and an act against all fangirls in existence".
They ignored her, though Leon later finished up Cloud's cup of coffee rather than order another one, and that more or less appeased her. With her help, they managed to set the grapevines abuzz with their new relationship and miscellaneous acts of affection, where Cloud helped cleaned the corner of Leon's mouth with a paper napkin and where Leon slapped Cloud's hand from trying to pick up a cherry that had fallen on the table and put it in his mouth.
With their first date down and becoming gossipmonger material, the two started to plan their next dates. They eventually had their first ice-skating session together, their first walk in the park, their first visit to the beach, their first shopping trip to get someone else's birthday present, their first fishing trip, and their first slumber party together at a friend's house.
It was a very long time after that that they had another first.
And of all things, it was the first time Cloud felt his heart race and his face set on fire.
It had already been three months since their first date. Zack and Aeris were back together in their usual lovey-dovey manner while subtly and not-so-subtly acted as a relationship counselor for Cloud and Leon, Rinoa had graduated from gawking at Leon to avoiding the brunet even if it meant taking the longer path to her classes, and everyone else exchanged stories of their dates at the ice cream parlor behind their backs. Basically, they were the couple that their schoolmates voted as the cutest couple in school, the type that friends and even teachers teased.
Even so, they were careful not to let their parents know too much about their relationship for fear of complicating things in the future.
Therefore, it was with no small amount of alarm when they found Cloud's mother waiting for them at her front door one night, after spending the evening together watching fireworks at the local annual fair. Arms akimbo and eyes narrowed, Mrs. Strife looked every bit the formidable woman who took three jobs and worked seven days a week to raise her son alone.
Before Cloud could even think of stopping her, she was already looking at Leon with her diamond-hard gaze, challenging him to cook up some lame excuse to turn tail and run.
Leon stood his ground, returning her gaze evenly. There was a gleam of acknowledgement in her eyes that muted when she spoke.
"I'm aware that you young kids like to test relationships out and drop them the moment the novelty is gone. Just how long do you plan on staying with my son? You can leave now if it's not for the long term."
Despite himself, Cloud felt his heart pound and race, and he told his senses sternly to come back. He shouldn't be eagerly anticipating Leon's answer. He shouldn't. But he couldn't stop the glow of happiness from spreading through his body when Leon gave his hand a squeeze, their laced fingers entangling further.
"I admit that I'm still young and immature, and I cannot promise Cloud anything nor have I thought about us too far into the future. But for now, I know for certain that I want to see next year's fireworks with him, if he'd still have me."
Mrs. Strife's face lit up in a pleasantly surprised smile, but Cloud didn't notice. All he knew was how he couldn't get his heart to stop racing and how his blush wouldn't obey his will and recede.
That night, alone in his bed, Cloud found himself reliving the past three months, dwelling in the sweet memories and smiling to himself. Absently, he wondered what Leon thought about them. Was the brunet feeling the way he did, enjoying every single date they'd gone out on and secretly wishing there was something more?
He tried to decipher the odd look Leon had given him at the fair, when the fireworks lit up his stormy greys and gifted them with a glow so enchanting it was almost impossible to look away.
He wanted to understand why Leon had refused to let go of his hand when his mother frowned at them, why he'd taken to holding on tighter and intertwining their fingers more.
He wanted to know the truth behind Leon's words.
And he would never forget the night, for it was the night he first felt his heart racing so fast, his face burning so hotly. Even Zack had never made him feel this way.
Five months into their relationship, two months after it became a habit for Leon to have dinner at Cloud's place with the blond's mother every other weekend, Cloud experienced another first, though this one was nothing but trouble.
It wasn't anything Cloud had expected to live through so soon, especially not the day after having dinner with Leon's family, where the brunet's mother and sister had fussed over him endlessly, asking him left and right if Leon was treating him right.
They hadn't had anything planned that day, and Leon suddenly asked Cloud if he wanted to borrow a new music album he'd just bought. Cloud agreed, but neither of them was expecting to see Leon's whole family. Maybe just his mother, who was almost always at home, but just as luck would have it, they all chose that day to be home. Cloud was accosted into the living room and fussed over the moment they stepped foot into the house.
Sometimes, Cloud thought that both he and Leon had already forgotten why they were dating in the first place.
Leon didn't seem miffed to introduce him to his family, at least.
So he wasn't expecting to round a corner in school the next day and stumble onto Rinoa tiptoeing to whisper into Leon's ears and Leon listening attentively. When she lost her precious balance, his arm shot out to steady her, grabbing her by her waist in a gesture that seemed way too familiar.
What struck Cloud wasn't jealousy. He'd felt that too many times to count whenever he saw Zack smiling at Aeris, though that feeling had, in the recent months, ebbed away until contentment settled in and took its place.
This was, instead, Cloud's first experience with heartbreak.
It was a strange feeling, like something had gone missing inside him, and the emptiness was… uncomfortable. The pain that accompanied it felt oddly internal, but if something had gone missing inside him, then what was left to feel the pain? Yet he couldn't ignore the sharp stab.
Walking away from the scene listlessly, Leon and Rinoa still oblivious to his troubled steps, he bullied his aching heart to remember the reason why he was with Leon in the first place. Their relationship had started as a farce, a façade, and that was what it still was. Certainly, what he felt couldn't be real. What he had with Leon now was a habit: a habit of acting like a dating couple and all the things that came with that relationship.
Habit was also the thing that brought his feet to Zack's door, asking if he had a minute to talk. But that was a formality more than anything, for Zack always had a minute for whatever ailed Cloud.
"I feel like crying," he said simply and without hesitation, but his eyes remained dry.
Zack pushed him down onto a chair and ruffled his hair, the way he always did. "Is there someone I should beat up?"
"Maybe. I'll tell you later, when I'm sure of it."
Unbeknownst to Cloud, when he was taking a nap in his friend's room, Zack quietly picked up his cell phone and dialed Leon's number. Though his intentions were good, his phone call alerted Leon to the fact that, even after five months, Cloud still ran to Zack the moment something upset him.
That day, after Cloud experienced his first heartbreak, Leon experienced his first in a very long time.
It was little surprise to both that their next first was their first argument.
While Cloud would have been contented to avoid Leon the next day and perhaps even pretend that nothing had happened the day prior, Leon did not possess such patience. He'd always been somewhat unruly with his temper despite reminding himself time and time again that it was never a good idea to sit down for a talk when the wounds were still so fresh.
For the most parts, he understood Rinoa's rationale for breaking it off with him. His impatience and need to settle problems the moment they cropped up always left her feeling like he was a time bomb and she the trigger.
But Leon couldn't afford to wait. His mind wouldn't let him. After Rinoa's explanation yesterday, after she'd tried to whisper her well-wishes for him into his ear, he was once again reminded of what he really had with Cloud.
He wanted that out of the way immediately, just so he could find out if there was anything behind the lies after five months of nurturing. He wasn't so sure, for Cloud still seemed to see Zack as his most important friend and confidant.
Leon wanted to know what made Zack so different from him.
Cornered and still aching from the image of Leon with his arm around Rinoa's slim waist, Cloud was quick to push Leon aside and walked off for his class. Even when Leon stopped him with a pull of his arm, he merely shrugged it off.
"Not today, Leon. I have enough problems already."
With that, he left the brunet standing in the corridor.
Cloud lost his first kiss to Leon two days after that.
Thrown against the concrete wall of his room and feeling his breath forced out of his lungs, he was shoved up against the wall by rough hands and before he could register what was going on, warm lips were already plundering his mouth. Any attempts to protest served as an opening for those desperate lips and tongue to attack more intensively, become more demanding. Cloud felt a groan tear itself from his throat, surprising himself when his hands lost their fight to shove Leon away and instead, found their way to the small of Leon's back and pressed his body closer.
It was only when his lips were released that memories of what had led up to the kiss trickled back.
Leon, too impatient to wait any more, had stomped up to his house and demanded that Cloud tell him what had bothered him for the past two days, so much so that he'd ignored him almost entirely.
"I just thought it was time we ended this. You do remember that this relationship was not real to begin with, don't you?" Cloud had said blithely, his arms crossed and his voice even. "You're welcomed to go back to Rinoa. She seems more than happy to take you back."
"I said: you're welcomed to go back to Rinoa. She's the reason why you played along with me, isn't she? Now you can go back to her. It's been five months. Long enough."
Leon narrowed his eyes.
"Is that why you still run off to Zack whenever you're upset? Am I his replacement?"
Cloud couldn't bring himself to say anything, knowing from that moment that it was a mistake to let Leon into his house, not to mention his room in the first place. Desperate for solitude, he opted to shove Leon out and slam the door.
He never succeeded.
Instead, the physical contact was the cue for Leon to slam Cloud into the wall.
It became increasingly difficult to think straight with the fog in his head afterwards, and all Cloud could think of, despite the pain in his back, was how nice it was to kiss Leon. His body trembled.
When his lips were released, Leon's warm breath tickled his nose, those stormy eyes boring into his with a hard gaze. He remained trapped between the wall and Leon's body, the brunet's hands wrapped tightly around him.
"It's not over. /We're/ not over. I won't let it." Leon's voice was husky and low, but there was no obscuring the steely resolve behind it.
"…But why? Our relationship isn't real." Cloud averted his gaze.
Leon forced him to look at him again, gripping his chin with his fingers.
"We can make it real. Now. Today. The only reason why we can't do it would be if you don't want me, and that's the only one I'd accept."
Then Leon…? Cloud swallowed.
The look of irritation signaled to Cloud that perhaps what he'd seen that day was just a misunderstanding.
"Not even in the equation," Leon replied. Then seemingly on second thoughts, he added, "And Zack?"
Cloud shook his head. "He's my friend and Aeris' boyfriend."
And Leon crushed their lips together again, this time with less anger, more passion. His hands careened across his body again, with less desperation and more fervor. The hurt that had been present earlier was gone now, replaced by a desire that threatened to grow out of control like wild fire.
Cloud knew then, at that moment, that their first kiss was just the first of many to come. And this time, all their firsts would be real.
Author's note: I'm not sure if anyone here reads my stuff on my LJ too, but just in case. I've f-locked my LJ, so if you want to read my stuff there, comment on my friending post to be added.
Anyway, more fics to come soonish! I should be updating quite frequently in December. But please remember to review if you enjoy reading my fics, because more reviews means more motivation and more motivation means faster updates! Thanx:)