A/N: I could help but begin posting this new story. *blush* I've decided that I'm not going to wait to finish a fic before posting the chapters. This means that there will be a lot more time between updates as I'll be updating as I complete chapters. I know this is unusal for me, but seriously, I don't want to wait anymore. I hope you can forgive me. o.o Anyhow, I hope you enjoy the story and I swear I'll attempt to work on this fic regularly so you're not waiting months for an upate. As always, I love reviews and would truly appreciate it if you could leave me one. I reply to 100% of my non-anonymous reviews because they make me happy! XD
Hope you likey! *crosses fingers*
Here he was again, in the dingy principal's office of his annoyingly cliché high school, Garden Brook High. This would be the seventh time the frustrated blond slumped through those doors and threw himself into that chair this month waiting to see the principal. He flinched slightly as his newest injuries sent a jolt of pain through his body, but he smirked at the thought that the other boys had gotten it worse.
The office secretary gave him a stern yet knowing grin and paged the principal to alert him of Cloud's arrival. Cloud grinned back at her and stared at his hands which were busying themselves in his now torn shirt. He didn't look up at the sound of someone else entering the office.
"Good afternoon. What can I do for you?" the secretary's voice chirped cheerfully to the person who entered.
"I'm here for my registration." a male's voice answered lowly, almost depressingly.
"You must be Squall Leonhart." the secretary said, an over cheerful smile apparent in her voice. Cloud didn't bother to look up.
"It's Leon." the new student responded with a hint of annoyance in his voice.
There was a brief pause and Cloud heard ruffling of papers. "Oh, it says here Squall L-"
"It's just Leon." he cut her off rather firmly.
There was another pause. "Okay, Leon. I'm Patricia. I just need both yours and principal Sephiroth's signature then we can welcome you to Garden Brook High." Her voice was dripping with over-friendliness.
Cloud heard the principal's door open, but didn't bother looking up. Both he and principal Sephiroth had a routine now. "Principal, can I get you to sign these for me so we can complete this registration?" Patricia's voice was almost sickeningly sweet when she spoke with Sephiroth.
Cloud heard another ruffle of papers while he tugged on his shirt before the principal spoke. "Welcome aboard, Squall."
"It's Leon." The new student didn't bother to hide his annoyance as he snapped at this new principal. The harshness in his voice startled Cloud and he looked up at this so-called 'Leon'. His breath left his lungs immediately. Cloud looked him up and down and then again. Leon's baggy jeans hung off of his slender hips seductively and he was wearing a white long-sleeved shirt topped by a black t-shirt which did nothing to hide the strong arms and chest underneath. His hair was the colour of creamy milk chocolate which accented his tanned skin beautifully. Cloud swallowed to cure his suddenly dry throat before he noticed Sephiroth looking at the new student with a hint of challenge.
"Okay, Leon. Welcome to Garden Brook." He tossed the registration form back onto the secretary's desk. "Collect your schedule and good luck with your studies." Sephiroth looked over at the blond, who was still staring in awe at Leon. "Cloud, are you ready to explain this one… again?"
Cloud looked over at Sephiroth just as Leon looked over at the blond. For this, Cloud was grateful. Cloud nodded, chancing another looked at Leon as he stood up. The brunet still has his eyes nonchalantly on him. For a moment their eyes met and Cloud sighed to hide the hitch in this breath. Leon didn't seem to notice, or care, but watched the blond walk into the principal's office before turning to take his schedule from the secretary.
Cloud took a seat in the chair by the desk as Sephiroth grabbed his file from the filing cabinet before taking his seat on the other side of the desk. "Another fight, Cloud?" Cloud nodded as he eyed his growing file. It wasn't that he was a bad student; he just got into a lot of fights. Sephiroth opened the file to the last page to add notes. "With whom?"
Cloud looked down at his hands and began cracking his knuckles. "Same as before." he answered quietly.
Sephiroth nodded and began writing. "What was the cause of the fight?"
Cloud rolled his eyes at this routine. He sighed before answering. "Same as before. You can go ahead and put that down as my answer for the next few questions as well."
Sephiroth looked up from the file to the blond boy in front of him. He felt for the boy; it couldn't have been easy for him. "Cloud, although I understand why this happens, you can't beat up everyone who starts a fight with you. You need to-"
"Talk to the closest teacher. I know." Cloud cut the principal off with the rest of the lecture he'd heard so many times before. "And no, I can't. It's bad enough that the whole school knows I'm gay. I don't need the label 'tattle-tale' added on."
Sephiroth put down his pen and sighed. "Have you tried talking with your guidance counselor?"
Cloud shook his head. "It'll be the same thing as every other counselor I've spoken with. Trying to talk to the bully, pretending not to care, and 'they're bullying because they're insecure' doesn't help me much." Cloud looked up at his principal. "The only thing that helps at this point is showing them that I can hold my own, fag or no fag." He winced at his own harsh words. "I will always fight back, as you had to have realized by now."
"Cloud, that will only escalate the problem." Sephiroth leaned on his desk, resting his chin in the palm of his hand. "What happens when they come back with more guys than you can handle?"
Cloud smirked. "One of two things. I end up in the hospital and you slap their wrists with suspention, or I die and they get off with community service duties because they're 'minors'." Cloud refused to show any emotion in his voice. What was the point? Everything was out of his control. This frustrated him beyond belief but he saved that frustration to fuel his fights when he needed to protect himself.
Sephiroth sat back in his chair and ran a hand through his long, silver hair. "I need you to start going to a teacher when these boys start attacking you."
"And I need to be able to walk down a hallway without looking over my shoulder, but that's not going to happen either." Cloud sighed again to swallow the emotion that was beginning to build up. "Don't worry about me. Once I graduate I'll be out of your hair."
"That's not my point, Cloud." Sephiroth said rather sternly. "I care about what's going on and I'm pissed off that someone's going through this because of their sexual orientation." He paused for a second to let that sink in. His anger was beginning to show in his voice. "You still won't consider pressing assault charges?"
Cloud let out a poisonous chuckle and shook his head. "That would only make things worse. Tony has a lot of friends."
Sephiroth sighed. Cloud was right. Tony would be charged but Cloud would see more assaults and they would probably be more violent.
"Listen," Cloud began, noticing the frustration in his principal's eyes. "You've been really good to me by not suspending me and caring about my well-being, but nothing is going to change for the better. I'm not going to run from them or let them kick the shit out of me without fighting back." He kept his eyes on Sephiroth's. "Just let me do my thing and I'll be graduated before we know it, okay?"
Sephiroth didn't respond. He only looked down at Cloud's file and frowned. He didn't mind looking the other way when it came to Cloud's 'misconduct', if you could call fighting in defense that. It just bothered him that Cloud wanted to go at it alone.
"Are we done here?" Cloud asked after Sephiroth didn't say anything for a few minutes.
"Yeah, we're done." he responded, lifting his eyes to the blond and watched him leave his office. He waited until the door closed behind Cloud. "See you in a day or two…"
Cloud took his seat in the back row of his statistics class. A few other students were already there and they all took in the sight of a bruised Cloud with a torn shirt. This wasn't all that uncommon so they went back about their business with their friends. Cloud sighed and pulled out his textbook from his bag before resting his head down on the desk. He thought about this morning's events; the fight after second period and how Tony and his friends were probably trying to explain their injuries to principal Sephiroth right now. He smirked again at the thought of how much damage he managed to inflict on the four boys who jumped him. He lifted his head and touched his throbbing cheekbone before readjusting his shirt.
More and more students filtered into the classroom as class time approached. Cloud didn't put too much of an effort in making friends at school. He had acquaintances that he talked with and ate lunch with, but no one who he called or hung out with after school hours. These school buddies kept a concerned distance from him every time he got into fights instead of asking him if there was anything they could do to help. It suited Cloud just fine. He didn't need to be protected.
The teacher entered the classroom a couple of minutes before the hour and started preparing her books. Not even a moment later Cloud's eyes were drawn to the door as Leon walked in, looking rather frazzled and irritated. The brunet looked down at his schedule then over to the teacher before letting out a sigh. He then looked over the desks to find an empty one. There was one in the front row, another by the window, and one next to Cloud. Leon looked over at Cloud, recognizing him from the principal's office. If his golden blond hair didn't give him away, the bruises and torn shirt did. He made his way over to the seat next to Cloud.
Cloud held his breath as the brunet drew closer, his steps so graceful and his hips twisted so beautifully as he avoided bumping into the other desks. Cloud fought to tear his eyes off of this beautiful boy but he couldn't drag them from the attractive body now steps away from him. Luckily the teacher began to speak, drawing Cloud's attention away as Leon took his seat and pulled out a textbook. Cloud shifted his eyes sideways over at Leon and heard soft, whispered curses coming from the brunet as he fought with six textbooks to pull out the right one. Once he retrieved his stats text, he leaned back in his chair and stretched his legs out.
Cloud tried to keep his focus on his teacher, but halfway through class he realized that was going to be impossible. He could faintly pick up on Leon's scent, a clean, fresh, masculine smell that screamed 'no matter how dirty I am, I'm clean'. Cloud's heart skipped a beat at that thought and he scolded himself for the dirty thought. He tried to keep himself from stealing glances at the brunet throughout class, but by the time the bell rang he noticed he failed as he couldn't remember anything that was taught in class.
He got up from his seat and filed his textbook back into his bag, looking over at the now frustrated brunet who was trying to shove his text back into his already overflowing bag. "Do you not have a locker yet?" Cloud asked, surprising himself by talking to Leon so casually. He hadn't intended to talk to him; yet…
Leon looked up at Cloud with stormy blue-grey eyes with a hint of annoyance. "Haven't been able to find it yet." Cloud found himself lost in the storm of those eyes as Leon's voice seduced him without even trying. "This school is a fucking maze." Leon added, looking back down at his bag and zipping it up before his books could fall out.
Cloud snapped out of his trance once Leon looked down at his bag. "I hear ya on that one. I can help you find it. I have a spare right now." he offered, keeping his voice even and not overly excited.
Leon hoisted his bag up on one shoulder and grunted as the weight fell on his back. "Yeah, that would be great, if you don't mind." He shifted the bag uncomfortably and pulled out his schedule from his pocket. "You know where that is?" he asked handing the schedule over to Cloud.
Cloud took the schedule from Leon's hand, shivering slightly as his fingers brushed up against the brunet's. He looked down at the locker number and grinned. "Yeah, I know where this is."
Leon nodded and turned towards the door. "Lead the way." His voice never changed tone. He kept an easy, smooth, almost jaded tone which Cloud was starting to find incredibly sexy. Cloud threw his bag over one shoulder and began his trek towards Leon's locker.
"The school's not that much of a maze once you get used to it." Cloud said after a moment of walking in silence. Leon was looking around curiously as Cloud led him down several hallways. He looked over at Cloud when the blond spoke. "Really, it's just like a grid."
Leon nodded. "I'm sure I'll get used to it. It's just difficult when you're new and don't have time to figure it out before classes." Leon bumped into another student and offered a quick 'sorry' before catching up to Cloud.
Cloud still had Leon's schedule in hand and glanced over his classes. He smiled when he saw that they not only shared a few of the same classes, but their spare, too. "Where are you from?" Cloud asked Leon, who was shuffling through another group of students.
"Balamb." Leon answered, huffing as another student walked right into him. "Am I really that invisible? Seriously…" he scowled at the student who apologized before rushing off to his next class.
Cloud turned around to find Leon in a state of complete frustration as he nudged another guy out of his personal space. He couldn't help but smile. "You'll get used to it. Eventually you'll be able to walk down these halls without noticing it too much." Cloud led Leon down another hallway. "It's down here." Leon followed Cloud down the hall until the blonde stopped in front of his locker. Leon grunted as he dropped his bag off his shoulders and opened the locker.
"Thanks, err…" Leon paused, just realizing now that he didn't remember the blond's name from the principal's office.
"Cloud." Cloud smiled and offered his hand.
Leon took his hand and gave it a short shake before crouching down and opened his bag. "I'm Leon."
Cloud chuckled. "So I've heard." He looked down at the beautiful boy. "Why is it so important that you don't go by your given name?" Leon looked up at Cloud with a hint of confusion before throwing a textbook into his locker. "I was there when you registered." Cloud explained. "You were rather blunt about not using your proper name."
Leon didn't look up this time and continued to put books in his locker. "That's personal."
Cloud nodded. "Fair enough." He took a couple of steps beside Leon and leaned on the locker next to him. "This is me. Looks like we're neighbours." he said, tapping on his locker which just happened to be right beside Leon's.
Leon finished throwing his textbooks into his locker and stood up to lock it. "Eh? Yeah, that's cool." he replied seeming a little distracted. "Umm, what happened?"
Cloud looked at Leon unsure of what he meant before it hit him. "Oh, this?" He looked down at his shirt and tugged it down a bit. "I got into a little bit of a fight earlier."
Leon eyed the bruise forming on Cloud's face and narrowed his eyes. "Why?"
Cloud wasn't expecting Leon to be so interested in what had happened to him. He hadn't even come up with a believable story as to why he fought with Tony and his gang so much. "Don't worry about it." Cloud smirked. "They got it worse."
Leon nodded slowly before throwing his bag over his shoulder, his eyes remaining fixed on Cloud's face. His eyes surveyed the injuries in such a way that Cloud wasn't sure if he actually cared about his well-being or was just fascinated by injuries. The expression on his face suggested that he was just making small talk. Either way, Cloud felt a small flush as Leon's eyes roamed his own features.
The bell rang again announcing the start of next period and Leon swore under his breath. "Where the fuck am I supposed to be?" he asked, reaching for his schedule which was still in Cloud's hand.
Cloud handed the schedule back and smiled. "You have a spare. We have a similar schedule. Well, sort of..." Cloud explained as Leon's stormy eyes inspected his schedule before looking somewhat relieved. "What are you up to right now?"
"Spare, apparently." Leon answered, not catching on to what Cloud was really asking.
Cloud chuckled. "What are you doing for spare?" His smile dropped when he noticed who was coming down the hallway towards them. Tony and his friends: talking rather loud and obnoxiously and pushing one another into the lockers lining the walls. Leon noticed Cloud's sudden change of attitude and looked over his shoulder down the hallway. He spotted the rowdy group and noticed that a few of them were sporting black eyes and recently bloodied noses. He looked back at Cloud. Cloud took a deep breath and looked at Leon. "Don't worry about them. They're just assholes."
"Are those the guys who you fought with today?" Leon asked, voice void of any concern or emotion.
Cloud nodded and quirked his lips. "Yeah."
Leon looked back over at the oncoming entourage before one of the boys spotted Cloud and grinned wickedly. "Oi, Cloud!" he called out, drawing attention from the rest of the small gang. Everyone turned and looked at Cloud, who Leon noticed looked ready to throw himself into another fight. "There you are, Cloudy-boy!" the first boy said, throwing an arm around the blond when they reached him. Cloud grabbed his wrist, twisted the boy off of him, and shoved him back to his friends.
"Hey, Leon," Cloud said, not removing his eyes from the boys who were snickering at their friend. "Why don't you meet me at the library. I'll catch up." Leon shifted his feet on the spot but made no indication of actually leaving. "It's fine. I'll be only a minute." Leon didn't spare a look at Cloud but kept his eyes trained on the group of boys who looked ready to start something with the blond.
"Leon, is it?" one boy asked, stepping in front of his group. He obviously was the ring-leader of this pack. "Listen, newbie, let me give you a piece of advice." He nodded his head towards Cloud. "Steer clear of this one, ya?" He placed a hand on Leon's shoulder and smiled at Cloud. "Know what will happen if you spend too much time with him?"
Cloud rolled his eyes and let out a deep sigh. "Fuck off, Tony. You're a fucking moron if you think-"
"Think what, Cloud?" Tony asked, cutting the blond off. He knew Cloud wouldn't have the balls to say what he was about to in front of a possible new friend. He was right. Cloud bit his tongue and shook his head. For all he knew, Leon was a violent homophobe, too. He didn't need to make another enemy. "Cloud, what was it that you were going to say? I'm a moron if I think what?" Tony pressed.
Leon looked over to Cloud before idly removing Tony's hand from his shoulder. Why was he to steer clear of Cloud, exactly? Cloud looked back at Leon with an apologetic look in his eyes. He didn't want Leon to be any part of this. Tony looked back at his group with an acid grin before standing in front of Leon. "You seem like you could be a cool guy, Leon. I'm usually pretty good at figuring these things out. Now tell me," he put his hand back on Leon's shoulder. "Are you a fag?"
Leon remained cool, calm, and collected and swatted Tony's hand from his shoulder once more. "Fuck you." his nonchalant voice said calmly.
Tony grinned. "Oh, so you're not?"
"No, I am not." Leon shook his head. Cloud's heart dropped to his feet and he could feel all of the colour drain out of his face. Now he was to fight Tony and his friends as well as Leon? Could he hit Leon? Leon was so damn beautiful.
"Well," Tony smiled at Leon. "Then you might want to watch out for this little minx right here." he said evilly, pointing at Cloud. "Because he is a fag and from what I hear he likes to take it up the ass. By the way he was just looking at you, I'm sure he has just filled up on mental jerk-off material for the next few months." Cloud swore all of the air had just left the hallway and felt like he was about to die of embarrassment. He wished he could just turn around and bolt away, but that wasn't an impression he was willing to deliver. A familiar anger rose within his chest and he took a deep breath, trying his best to avoid looking at Leon. "Are you going to deny it, Cloudy-boy?" Tony asked cruelly.
Cloud's hands fisted into tight balls and he tried to focus on breathing before he passed out. He accidently let his eyes glance over to Leon, who was staring at him with the same stormy indifference that they have held since they met. Not a readable expression on his face. His heart sunk as Leon offered no indication of what he thought of this situation. He looked back at Tony. "I'm tired of standing around here wasting time. If you're going to hit me, hit me." Cloud said, his voice seemingly drained of all energy.
Tony smirked. "Are you not going to deny that you're a gay twink who loves to suck dick?"
"Leon, I'm sorry…" Cloud said dejectedly as he turned and walked away. He could hear Tony and his crew talking with Leon as he made his leave. He just had to make it to the bathroom first before he could let his tears fall from the humiliation he had just experienced. His anger made his body shake as he quickened his pace towards the bathrooms. Once inside he kicked open each stall to ensure that he was alone as the first sob escaped his lips. He grabbed some bathroom tissue and held it against his eyes as tears began to freely fall from them.
He sat up on the counter beside the sinks and hid his face in his hands. The utter mortification hit him hard and his heart clenched in his chest. He wasn't going to lie about his sexual preference, but he had no intentions to openly tell Leon either, especially since they had just met. Thinking about Leon made the pain in his chest tighten further as he sobbed into the palms of his hands. If Leon hadn't have been there he would have taken on the other boys easy enough. Hell, if Leon hadn't have been there they probably wouldn't have said too much to him apart from the mean catcalls. Now they were probably trying to recruit Leon amongst themselves.
Next time the entourage decided to 'teach him a lesson' for being gay, would Leon join in? Would they have Leon start it as sort of an initiation into their group? Cloud's sobs started to quiet down and he wiped his eyes dry before discarding the tissue. He wanted to get out of there before someone came in so he hopped down off the counter and turned to look at his reflection in the mirror. His azure blue eyes were glossed over by the tears that hadn't fallen rimmed with pale red from the tears that had. He wiped at his eyes again before turning on the taps and cupping the cold water in his hands before splashing it over his face. After drying his face he ran a hand through his spiky blond hair and adjusted his shirt. Grabbing his bag, he took one last glance at himself in the mirror before heading out of the bathroom towards the library.
He made his way to an empty table and threw his bag on the surface with a sigh. He took a seat and pulled out his stats text to review the material he had missed while distracted by Leon during the previous period. He knew this stuff so it was hard to keep his mind trained on the material without it slipping back to the brunet. Every time he started thinking about Leon again his heart skipped a beat and his chest tightened from the humiliation Tony had caused. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath.
"This seat taken?" a familiar emotionless voice asked, causing a mild panic to course through Cloud's body.
He opened his eyes and looked up at Leon who was standing behind a chair in front of him. He held the strap of this bag over his shoulder and was looking down at Cloud with a jaded expression. Is he here to mock me like Tony? Cloud thought before shaking his head. Not like it mattered anymore. "No, go ahead."
Leon pulled the chair out and dumped his bag on the table before taking his seat. "I would have been here sooner, but I couldn't find the library." he offered, pulling out his text. He leaned back in his chair and looked up at the blond.
Cloud looked down at his book and nodded. "S'all right. Sorry that you had to witness that." he said lowly.
"Is it true?" Leon asked, his face not changing expression, well, really just remaining expressionless.
Cloud took a deep breath and let it out in a sigh. "Which part? They said a lot."
"Are you gay?" Leon asked easily.
"Yes." Cloud replied shakily. "But the rest-"
"Is irrelevant." Leon cut Cloud off. Cloud's eyes shot up at Leon with a hint of confusion. "Don't worry about it, Cloud. I don't care that you're gay and the rest of what they said was just them being arrogant." Leon kept his eyes on Cloud as he watched his own indifference sink in for the blond. Cloud nodded and looked back down at his book. "Are you busy?" Leon asked after Cloud seemed to have accepted what he said.
"Not really." Cloud answered, tracing a crease in the table with his finger.
"Mind catching me up on stats?" Leon asked again, opening his text to the first chapter.
Cloud looked over at the brunet and smiled. "Thanks, Leon."
Leon looked over at that blond and tilted his head. "You're not used to people accepting this, are you?" he asked. Cloud shrugged. Leon shook his head. "That's unfortunate."
The two spent the rest of their spare going over the material Leon had missed before he moved to Garden Brook High. Cloud took great enjoyment in watching Leon absorb everything that he was teaching him. When the bell rang for next period Leon grabbed his schedule and Cloud showed him to his next class before going off onto his own.
"Thanks." Leon said facing Cloud before he slipped into the classroom.
"No problem." Cloud smiled back, still feeling a little uneasy around the brunet.
Leon sighed reading the mixed emotions on Cloud face. "Cloud," he began, causing the blond to look up at him. "You're gay. You're blond. You're good at stats. It's what makes you Cloud. Ease up on yourself, 'kay? Fuck Tony and his pathetic clique." Cloud nodded looking down to the ground before Leon continued. "I'm lucky I found one nice person today. You've really made my first day a helluva lot easier. I mean it when I say thanks." he concluded with a nod.
Cloud nodded back and waved as Leon made his way into his classroom. Cloud turned around and grinned while walking to his next class. His heart fluttered and all of a sudden his previous humiliation didn't seem so bad.
Sadly, I had a lot of fun writing this chapter. Poor Cloud, but some things just need to happen. Have a moment? Leave a review? ^.^