disclaimer: if i owned kingdom hearts, thered be SO much more same-sex pairings. D:
allergy warnings: shonen-ai/BL (call it what you want, i dont care anymore), cloudXleon, fluff.
a/n: my throat is on fire. and it is raining absurdly hard over here. i want a friend like aerith to hang out with. :c AND, cloud being embarrassed? so totally fun to write. :D

It was ten in the afternoon and it was raining. Hard. Harder than the day before, or the day before that, or even the day before that, but, then again, that was a given and a little obvious since two days ago, it wasn't even raining. Anyway, it was pouring outside. The raindrops crashed into the window with a force so strong that Yuffie's remark about how the windows would have to be replaced after the storm was starting to look a little true. Not to mention the deafening thunder and the blinding lighting, so close that even Tifa—the martial artist who wasn't scared of anything, the person who'd seen it all and wasn't worried about a thing, Tifa—had confined herself to underneath her covers with her CD player's volume turned up so high that you could hear it before you even walked into her room. Everyone in the house was either cowering or irritated at the non-stop rain.

So, of course Leon was forced to play counselor with Aerith, what with those two being the only ones who weren't scared out of their mind or irritated enough to kill someone.

Aerith had began assigning Leon people to talk to, even though Leon had absolutely no idea what he should say or do. He was nothing like Aerith. She was a healer, her voice calming and soothing, her words always chosen carefully, her appearance always consoling.

Leon was a fighter, his voice always clipped and rough, his words chosen hastily and uncaringly, and his appearance was threatening and intimidating.

Leon had no idea why she wanted him to help her console the many members of the Hollow Bastion Restoration Committee.

But he didn't argue. Because no one argued with Aerith. Ever.


"You can take Cid, Vincent and Cloud. You all are males so you should be able to connect with them better. I'll take Yuffie and Tifa."

Leon frowned. "Why do you get less people?"

Aerith just smiled. "Because females are more irrational than males and are harder to console. I'm actually doing more work than you."

Leon's frown deepened. "But I get the irritated ones."

Aerith tutted Leon and turned around, heading upstairs to where the girls rooms were located. Leon scowled at her retreating figure.

Leon wondered who he'd take on first. Obviously not Cid. He'd slash his neck open. Leon had already banned him from going outside to check on Highwind, so not only was he irritated at being cooped up all day, he was also aggravated at Leon for not allowing him to go check up on his beloved airship.

Tick one off the list.

Definitely not Vincent. Leon had absolutely no idea what he'd say to him. It'd be minutes of silence, just pure silence. Leon was not one for awkward silences. He was not one to be even talking to Vincent. Quite frankly, Vincent frightened him.

That left Cloud.

To tell the truth, Leon didn't want to talk to anyone, much less the brooding blonde who Leon found himself crushing over. What would he say? What would he do? Leon never allowed himself to spend any amount of time with the ex-SOLDIER in fear of what he might say.

Leon sighed. He had to choose him. Aerith would castrate him with a wooden spoon if he didn't do something.


When Leon opened the door to Cloud's room, he was greeted with an odd sight.

Cloud was hunched over in the corner of his room, his glowing blue eyes opened wide, his arms wrapped around his knees which were pressed tightly to his chest, his breathing so loud and erratic that Leon heard it from the doorway. He looked up with a start when Leon entered the room, silently questioning him with his own gray eyes.

"L-leon!" Cloud stuttered, his voce as frightened as he seemed.

Leon just nodded slowly, taking a small step back, wondering if he should leave the mako-infused twenty-four year old in peace.

Cloud quickly scrambled to his feet, almost falling over and almost knocking over the alarm on his bedside table. A blush attacked his face violently as he spoke, growing redder and redder by the second. "I-I-I… um, I… ah, you see, I was… It's not like… Uh…"

Leon just nodded again.

Cloud looked away, embarrassment mixing in with his other emotions. "I… Uh…" he stammered, barely able to get a word out. "See, I have, uh a-a… Uh… Ast-a—"

"Astraphobia," Leon said slowly, offering a word, hardly believing that Cloud—the man who ran away from Shinra and lived, the man who'd devoted his entire life to capturing the darkness in his heart, Sephiroth, the man who Leon pines over silently everyday, Cloud—was afraid of thunderstorms.

Cloud nodded sheepishly.

A clap of thunder accompanied with a bright flash of lightning filled the sky, startling Cloud and making him jump so far up that Leon was afraid he'd hit the ceiling. Cloud quickly dashed towards Leon, wrapping his arms around the older man's waist in protecting. Leon blushed fiercely at the contact, amazed at how he could feel Cloud's heart thump against his body.

Cloud looked up, his face entirely red. He tried to speak and withdraw himself from the awkward situation, but Leon wrapped his own arms around the blonde's body and pressed him tighter, not really thinking about the consequences.

"Cloud," Leon sighed, his face heating up. "I love you."

Confusion, shock, amazement, embarrassment, happiness. Cloud went through each emotion before a smile brightened his features, dazzling Leon.

"Thank you," he said, his voice rough with emotion. He lifted himself a little higher and kissed Leon. Leon kissed him back contently.

Then there was another crash and another light. Cloud broke their lip's contact with a short shout and hid behind Leon, his fingers grasping the cloth of Leon's jacket tightly.

Leon smiled. He'd never knew that Cloud would've accepted his feelings so quickly. He turned around and pulled the smaller man into an embrace, kissing the top of his head softly, muttering gentle words of comfort for his astraphobic blonde.

Another boom and flash. Leon heard Tifa upstairs yelp. Cloud stayed calm in his arms.