So, other than Disarm the other day, it's been a while. Sorry about that! I do have several things written out (a few are pwp and bound only for livejournal, lol), but none of 'em are ready yet. Maybe soon. :)
Much love and thanks to BelleDragon for beta-ing, and thank you to everyone who's read or reviewed any of my fics; your support helps me more than you know. This is for those who've hinted that they'd like to see something a little longer. It's not much, but I tried. XD
Disclaimer: dood, fanfiction. Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy, and the characters and universes therein are the property of Disney and Square Enix. I receive no remuneration for this work; it is a parody and as such utilizes the Fair Use clause of the Copyright Act.
Cloud squinted one eye in a wince as Leon wrapped the gauze tighter around the freshly-stitched wound in his upper arm, but he made no sound.
The brunet glanced up at the carefully schooled expression and sighed. "You don't have to be brave around me, Cloud," he said quietly. He brought a roll of medical tape up to his mouth and ripped a small length off with his teeth, then smoothed it securely over the end of the gauze.
Cloud trailed his fingers lightly along the finished bandage, though he didn't bring his gaze from the floor between his feet. "Thanks," he finally murmured.
Leon nodded. "Shouldn't get infected, but..."
"Look, Cloud, I'm sorry—"
"It was my fault. I could have blocked it. Should have been able to..." The blond shrugged briefly, tugging on his sleeveless sweater and zipping it up. He brushed off some dust from his knee and sent a sidelong glance at the gunblader. "It was a good swing."
Leon smiled vaguely and shook his head, rising from his seated position beside Cloud on the edge of the blond's bed. "I should have been more careful. If..."
"If what? If you'd held back?" He snorted. "If we always hold back, what good are we? How do we know what we can handle? Half-assed strikes aren't going to help anybody when it really counts."
Leon stared for a moment, then gave a short laugh.
One corner of Cloud's mouth curved up despite himself. "What?"
"It's just...I've never heard you say so many words at one time."
Cloud grunted and rolled his eyes.
"See? That's what I'm—" Leon furrowed his brow before quickly continuing, "I mean, we're...used to seeing. A grunt and a shrug."
"Like you're not guilty of the same thing." Cloud eyed his companion.
The brunet lifted his shoulder in acquiescence. "...Hey, um. You want to go get a couple drinks? My treat," he added. "Peace offering..."
Cloud considered him for a moment, then nodded. "Sure. But you might want to...ah...you still got a bit of dirt under your eye, there." He mimed moving his finger over his cheekbone just under his right eye.
Leon nodded his thanks and slipped the tip of his thumb into his mouth to wet it, then rubbed at the indicated area. He raised his eyebrows in question.
"Missed some," Cloud mumbled, standing and lifting the hand of his uninjured arm towards Leon's face.
The brunet shied away when Cloud's thumb neared his mouth, and he stared at the blond.
"What, you want me to use my spit?" Cloud chuckled once, then his eyes widened imperceptibly, shocked by his own boldness.
Leon found himself smiling hesitantly at the uncertain light in Cloud's expression, but it rapidly faded to something more somber as the younger man shifted his gaze from Leon's eyes to his mouth, glancing up once more before gently pressing the pad of his thumb against his lower lip. Leon surprised both himself and Cloud by allowing the contact, and a tiny gust of breath brushed over Cloud's skin when he exhaled, far more shakily than he'd intended.
Cloud swallowed, feeling something tightening in his gut and suddenly quite aware that he wasn't in complete control of his body, or his thoughts, for that matter. He gingerly slid his thumb just between warm, slightly moist lips, and a helpless shiver skittered down his lower back as the soft texture of Leon's tongue came into contact with his skin. Both sets of blue eyes met once more, something new and dark and intense lurking deep within their shared gaze.
The swordsman slowly withdrew and balanced his fingers on Leon's cheek, using the bit of wetness to clean away the trace of mud and barely breaking eye contact with the older man. Leon didn't so much as flinch when Cloud's thumb grazed the edge of his lower eyelashes at one point, a silent testament to the extent of his trust in the blond.
Eventually, Cloud pulled back and murmured, "'kay, you're...presentable now."
Leon just kept staring, slowly lifting a hand to rub at the side of his neck, feeling the pulse racing beneath his skin.
The blond dropped his gaze to the floor, and silence reigned for a long moment. Both realized a boundary had just been crossed; something had changed between them, and neither was quite sure what to make of it.
Cloud wet his lips hesitantly. "I...don't know."
"Oh," Leon breathed, lowering his own gaze. "Uh, I..."
"Drinks?" Cloud chimed in uneasily, lifting his head and canting it towards the door.
"Yeah," Leon responded immediately, thankful for the redirect and hopeful that the heat from a good, strong shot or three would help clear his suddenly clouded head.
The blond nodded and started towards the exit. He paused and turned back when he heard his name, seeing that the other hadn't moved yet.
"I won't hold back anymore...if you don't," Leon offered very softly, very neutrally, before stuffing his hands into his pockets and walking past the younger warrior.
Before he could reach for the doorknob, Cloud impulsively grabbed his forearm and he spun back around. They stood frozen for a moment, caught up in each other's eyes, and this time there was no denying the underlying attraction. They both stepped forward in one decisive movement and their lips crashed together in a fierce, needy kiss, arms gripping one another tightly and fingers twisting firmly in blond and brunet strands.
The intensity didn't last long; after a short time, the sudden ardor and desperation began to diminish and the kiss slowed and deepened, tongues sliding purposefully against each other amidst soft sounds as they shared tastes, breaths, scents. Cloud curled his fingers more gently in the hair at the nape of Leon's neck, and they both sighed a little into the kiss. One of Leon's hands traced a light path up Cloud's arm towards his shoulder in a subtle request for more contact, but the touch soon crossed over the blond's wound, drawing a sharp hiss from the younger man and causing him to accidentally bite down on Leon's lip. They broke apart abruptly with twin winces of pain, and Leon growled inwardly, having forgotten all about the injury he, himself, had caused. He swore under his breath, then began murmuring apologies, cupping his hand just below the wrapped bandage even as he took a step back.
"Leon, shut up. 'm fine." Cloud muttered thickly after a few seconds, once the adrenaline coursing through his veins began to settle. He gripped his upper arm and cast a rather mild glance at the other man. "You're bleeding."
The gunblader blinked, then flicked out his tongue to taste the coppery trail of liquid that was slowly making its way from the bow of his upper lip down to the corner of his mouth. "Hn. So I am."
A tiny smirk flashed across Cloud's face.
Leon quirked an eyebrow.
"It's just... I think I started this, didn't I?" The blond's voice dropped a notch. "Like this..." He began to wipe away some of the blood with slow, gentle strokes of his thumb, watching as Leon's eyelids lowered a little.
"I didn't think you were..." the brunet began in equally low tones.
"I...didn't think so, either." He paused. "I mean...I'm not? I just..."
Leon looked at him curiously.
"Maybe...maybe it's just...you," Cloud concluded weakly, retreating to the edge of his bed once more and sitting down with a sigh, hands dropping onto his lap. He rubbed his thumb and forefinger together as Leon's blood dried on his skin, watching the tiny red particles fall to the floor. After a moment, he managed a half-smile. "Guess that makes the score even, now. We've both drawn blood."
Leon narrowed his eyes, recognizing the challenge in the calmly-spoken words. If Cloud could put aside their currently ambiguous situation for a time, so could he. He squared his shoulders and tucked his arms over his chest. "A tie-breaker, then?"
"Thought you were thirsty."
"I think I'll survive."