A/N: B'ahh! Last chapter! Go read!
Cloud woke up in a daze, his body aching all over. His eyes fluttered against the light before he glanced around at the unfamiliar surroundings. It didn't take him long to realize that he was in a hospital. Again.
Baby-blue eyes quickly scanned the room, finding himself alone, before he let them close again, bringing his hand to his face to rub off some off the stress. His eyes opened again to find his hand and wrist in a caste and the horrors of what happened the day before immediately came flooding back to him.
Cloud sniffled as his eyes opened again. He looked towards the door of his hospital room and saw a few nurses scurrying around, obviously busy with other patients. He looked around the room again to find some sort of clue of the time. His clothes were folded neatly on a chair a few feet away from his bed. His phone was probably still in his pants pocket.
Pushing down the sheets that covered him, Cloud frowned at the hospital gown before attempting to sit up. His hissed in pain as his muscles and ribs objected to the motion. The slash across his stomach burned as well but he pushed past the pain and swung his feet to the floor. Before he could stand up, a voice announced a presence.
"Where are you off to?"
Cloud smiled and turned his head to see Leon standing at the door. His smile quickly turned into a frown at the sight of a bandage taped to his boyfriend's right temple. His frown deepened as Leon moved towards him, his posture sluggish and the boy in obvious pain himself.
Cloud remained still as Leon drew closer, soon taking a seat beside Cloud.
"I was going to find out what time it is." Cloud said, raising his good hand and touching the bandage on the brunet's head gently.
"Nine thirty. Saturday morning." Leon answered, taking the blond's hand in his own and lowering it from his bandage. "Just a cut. They kept me overnight to make sure I didn't have a concussion." he explained before delicately taking Cloud's damaged hand with his other.
Cloud frowned and shook his head. "Did yesterday really happen?" he asked lowly.
Leon licked his lips before nodding, his eyes jaded. After Cloud had unfastened his hands from the piping, Leon didn't care about anything else except holding the blond. His heart yearned for him and he couldn't pull the boy close enough to him to stop the pain. They cried. Leon never cried so hard in his life, even when his mother died. He was sad then but that was her decision. Cloud was helpless. Cloud was a victim and Leon couldn't stop what was happening to the blond. He didn't know why Tony took off when he did nor did he care. After the flood gates were open, he couldn't stop telling Cloud how much he loved him.
Cloud had clung to him so desperately as he cried in his arms. Both were in so much pain, their physical pain not even registering against the emotional pain they were feeling. The only cure was to hold one another. And that's what they did for a long time after Tony had left, not able to stop telling each other how much they loved the other.
Cloud was soon so exhausted. The slash on his stomach and broken wrist throbbed and soon he began to slip into unconsciousness, his body telling him it had had enough for one night before his eyes closed. Leon pulled his phone out from his pocket and dialled for an ambulance, panic setting in from not knowing the extent of Cloud's injuries.
His next call was to Zell, who fled to the hospital to meet the boys as they arrived. After Leon's examination, the brunet demanded to see Cloud before uttering another word. Cloud's stomach was stitched up and a caste was applied to his broken wrist. The rest of his injuries were bruises that would heal with time. The doctors promised to keep a close eye on him until he woke up and gave them both analgesics to get them through the night.
Zell was beside himself with horror as Leon explained what had happened. Leon cried and Zell held him, rubbing his back and promising him that everything was going to be all right. Zell was torn apart at how much Leon had changed over the course of the night. He'd never seen someone in more emotional pain than the brunet that night. It broke his heart.
Leon swore revenge, his rage making it past is sobbing. He was going to go after the boys who did this to Cloud, but Zell gently shushed him, shaking his head as he told him that it would only cause more pain. Zell promised him that those boys would get what's coming to them and in a way that wouldn't get Leon arrested. That would only serve to keep Leon and Cloud separated and that wasn't necessary.
"It feels like it was a dream." Cloud commented, bringing Leon's hands to his face.
Leon caressed Cloud's cheeks with the back of his hands before running his hands through Cloud's hair. "It's over now." he said as he drew closer to the blond's lips. He still wanted to take matters in his own hands but Zell had assured him that leaving it to the officials would be the preferable means of dealing with Tony.
As their lips met, Cloud's eyes began to tear and he wrapped his arms around his boyfriend. Once get got a taste, he needed more. He ignored the pain in his ribs as he arched himself close to the brunet, who guided him down against the mattress, never breaking their kiss as he hovered over his boyfriend.
Their kiss lasted a long while before Cloud finally ended it for some air. His eyes stared up dreamily at blue-gray before he smiled. "I love you."
Leon's eyes softened, as did his features, and for the first time Cloud saw a small gentle smile caress the brunet's features. "I love you, too."
Cloud's eyes glazed over as he stared at the brunet's face, drinking in as much of the sight as he could. His chest tightened and a smile graced his features before Leon leaned down and kissed him tenderly.
When Leon lifted his head again, Cloud's eyes remained closed and he sighed happily before crystal-blue was revealed from behind his lids once more. "I always knew it. You do have a really pretty smile."
Leon huffed, his expression once again not showing anything, and he shook his head. His eyes went soft as he gazed down at his lover. "I guess you called it, then."
Cloud chuckled and pulled Leon's head down again to recapture his lips once more.
The boys stayed close to one another for a while longer before a doctor walked into the room, examining Cloud's chart before looking at the two cuddling in bed together. "How are you feeling, Cloud?" he asked, eyes diverted back down to the chart.
"I'm all right." Cloud answered, not missing Leon's expression as the brunet rolled his eyes. "What?" he asked, turning to his boyfriend with a silly smile. "I really mean it this time."
Leon's eyes stared into Cloud's and a small smile appeared on his lips once again, stopping the blond's heart. "I believe you."
The doctor explained that the boys were good to go home as soon as they wanted and advised them to take it easy for the next couple of days. Cloud frowned as he thought about what he was supposed to be doing this weekend: packing and moving.
"How's this supposed to work?" Cloud asked once the doctor left the room. "I'm supposed to be packing up my stuff for when my guardian calls.
Leon bit his lower lip and his eyes looked spaced for a moment before he focused on the blond again. "I met your guardian." he said in a low, nonchalant voice.
Cloud's eyes searched the brunet's face almost frantically. "What? When?"
Leon sighed softly. "He came to visit you last night but you were still unconscious." The brunet watched Cloud absorb this piece of information before he continued. "We've actually had a lot of visitors."
"What's he like?" Cloud asked, ignoring the fact that others had come to see him.
Leon looked down at the bed before his eyes met the blond's again. "You'll meet him. Lets get going, okay?"
Cloud frowned as he watched Leon get up from the bed, his features not offering anything of what he was thinking, and the brunet offered his hand to help Cloud up. Cloud accepted and was pulled into a warm embraced as soon as he was on his feet. The pain in his heart made his physical pain unnoticeable.
Leon and Cloud walked slowly back home from the hospital, not wanting to call for a ride from Zell or Irvine as they just wanted to be together, alone. Leon held Cloud's uninjured hand as he led them down the street, the heat from the midday sun carrying in the wind to make a pleasant warm breeze, defrosting Cloud's frayed nerves. Leon was as quiet as he was when they had started home from school the day before and Cloud didn't know what he could say to lessen the pain they both must have been feeling. He wasn't sure what he could say or whether he wanted to say anything at all. Nothing would stop what was going to happen when they got home.
"You'll be introduced to your guardian when we get home." Leon said lowly, his eyes not leaving the road ahead of them. "He's there now."
Cloud's lips tightened and he nodded to confirm he heard what the brunet had just said.
"I like him and I'm sure you're going to like him, too." Leon continued, his eyes lifting up to inspect Cloud's expression: tight and sombre. "Everything is going to work out, Cloud."
Cloud wasn't sure if Leon really meant it or he was trying to make Cloud feel better about who he was going to be staying with. Leon was the sort of person to try and make the best of it, even if only to make Cloud accept what was happening easier.
"I'm sure it will." Cloud finally said after a moment of silence. "That's not the part I'm concerned about, though." His eyes showed tears that had yet to fall. "I'm really going to miss you."
Leon sighed and wrapped an arm around Cloud's shoulder, pulling the boy closer to him. They walked that way until they met with the front porch of their home. Both paused and Leon felt Cloud take a deep breath, though the blond was silent.
"He's here now?" Cloud asked, eyes scanning the front of the house.
Leon nodded and turned the blond so they were facing one another. "No matter what happens, you have me, Cloud." Blue-gray eyes searched baby-blue before he let out a soft sigh of his own. "I love you. Nothing is going to change that."
Cloud's heart skipped a beat; he wasn't used to hearing that and every time Leon said it, it felt like he was still in a dream. "I love you, too." the blond whispered, wiping a tear from his cheek.
Leon's lips gave a slight twitch and he kissed Cloud chastely before taking his hand again and led him to the front door. Cloud's hand was squeezing his, though Leon was sure Cloud wasn't aware that he was doing it.
Leon opened the door and waited for Cloud to take a step in. Cloud took a deep breath, not looking forward to meeting his guardian, before he finally went inside, Leon a pace behind him.
Cloud's eyes darted around the front entrance.
"Hey!" Xander chimed, a huge smile playing across his lips as he came from the living room.
"There he is!" Eric chuckled from behind Brad and Irvine.
Cloud's eyes narrowed as he took in his friends all gathered around in the living room, wide smiles on all of their faces. Boxes were everywhere and it looked as though a tornado hit the house. All of that didn't matter though. Nothing registered as he continued to search for the one stranger that was going to be taking him away.
Brantley chuckled as Cloud's face remained stoic and his eyes continued to dance around the house from face to face. "Gaia to Cloud! Come in, Strife."
Cloud took a couple of steps towards the living room, feeling incredibly defensive, before he knocked a box over with his leg. He glanced down momentarily before his eyes searched the surrounding area. Leon took Cloud's hand in his own and led the blond the rest of the way into the living room. Once there, Cloud searched the hallway with his eyes, soon becoming too nervous to move. Leon wrapped his arms around his boyfriend and kissed the side of his head.
"He's in shock." Irvine said with a chuckle. "Poor boy."
Cloud's eyes met Irvine's before they settled on Zell. Zell smiled and shook his head as he walked up to him. He paused in front of Cloud before looking over his shoulder at Irvine. Irvine smiled back at Zell then Zell turned towards Cloud. His smile widened. "I'm the boss of you now." he said childishly.
Cloud's eyes met with Zell's and for a brief moment he felt like all of the air was just sucked out of the room. "Wha…"
Zell's smile remained though he narrowed his eyes. "I'm. The. Boss. Of. You. Now." he repeated, punctuating each word with a tap on Cloud's nose.
A tear escaped Cloud's eye and his body began to tremble. He felt Leon's hands rub his arms up and down. He glanced over his shoulder to find Leon watching him with happy eyes. "I told you you'd like your new guardian." he said softly, another gentle smile tugging at his lips.
Cloud was about to laugh but his emotion got caught up within him, making the laugh seem like a sob. More tears escaped his eyes as he turned around and met with Zell's eyes, which were practically glowing.
"Because you and Leon are both almost of age, I can be a guardian for the both of you." Zell explained. "I signed the papers a few days ago. You, my friend, are officially my bitch."
Cloud laughed through his tears before shaking his head. This had to be a dream. "Yes?" the blond asked, covering his mouth with a shaky hand. When Zell nodded, Cloud threw his arms around Zell, squeezing his eyes shut from relief. Zell wrapped his arms around Cloud and smiled at Leon, who was smiling at them.
Everyone in the room was affected by the intense emotional display and the happiness that Cloud's anguish was finally coming to an end. Xander wiped a tear from his cheek as he leaned back into Irvine, who wrapped his arms around the smaller boy and kissed the top of his head. Brad crossed his arms and smiled happily at Cloud, shaking his head. Eric and Brantley chuckled, both overcome by emotion but keeping it in check. Cloud opened his eyes and looked at his friends from over Zell's shoulder. He blinked out a few tears and sniffled as he returned each of their smiles.
"I'm so sorry." Zell said lowly, rubbing the bond's back lightly. "I should have done something sooner." Cloud pulled back from the hug and looked up into Zell's face. "I knew what happened to Leon and I knew you were going through something similar. I should have stepped in before it all came to this."
Cloud laughed and shook his head. "I wouldn't trade this moment for the world, Zell. Thank you." But before his thanks could leave his mouth, Cloud sobbed again and gave the other blond another hug.
Zell's eyes met with Leon's and he smiled at the brunet. Leon's lips twitched again and he crossed his arms over his chest. Zell took a deep breath. "I never thought I'd see the day when Leon would be smiling." He turned the blond around to face his boyfriend. "You did that, Cloud." He pointed at Leon, who now had a small smile playing on his lips. "I've never seen him happier. I never thought he'd ever recognize love. Look what you've done to him." Zell chuckled as Cloud reached out for Leon, who took a step closer before pulling the blond into his arms. They kissed, not caring that they were being watched by the most important people in their lives.
Xander looked up at Irvine, who was smiling back down at him before he lowered his head and kissed his new boyfriend.
"Oh Gods!" Brantley cried out. "I didn't realize this was a make out party. There're too many boys here!" Both sets of couples broke their kisses with a laugh, well, all but Leon, and playfully glared at Brantley. Brantley grinned and met eyes with Cloud. "Do you know how hard it was not to tell you that Zell was your guardian?"
Cloud raised his eyebrows as his wiped away the last of his tears. "When the hell did you guys find out? Why wasn't I informed?"
The boys looked at one another for a moment before Brad started explaining. "When Zell signed the papers, naturally he'd tell his best friend who is dating our best friend."
"I told the guys so we could be happy for you instead of sad that you were leaving." Xander said, grinning at Cloud.
"And we didn't think it would be appropriate for us to tell you." Eric continued. "It wasn't our place, so we waited until Zell told you guys."
"You mean you couldn't pick up on our hints?" Brantley asked, rolling his eyes.
"Hints?" Cloud asked, looking back at Leon who simply shrugged his shoulders.
"Yesterday," Eric said. "I told you that I was positive that they were nice people." He paused then shook his head. "I didn't want to say 'he'. It might have given it away that I knew who it was." He grinned happily at the blond.
"I couldn't stop grinning at lunch." Xander said. "You and Leon looked so depressed and I knew you guys were going to be so happy when you found out." Xander winked at Cloud. "Then you had to call me out on it. I didn't know what to say."
"So I had to tell you that Xander and Irvine are an item now." Brantley said, smiling happily. "I guess it was the best time to tell you since Xander couldn't stop smiling for you two."
Xander blushed and turned to hide his face in Irvine's chest. Cloud chuckled and Leon's arm pulled the blond closer against his body.
"Life's full of surprises." Brantley said with a wink. "I told you so yesterday, didn't I? I told you that if it can work out with Leon then it could work out for you. I'm surprised you guys didn't pick up on any of this."
"Especially after I said that Dorothy is going home, you just didn't know it yet." Brad added with a smile. "Gods, Cloud. We were offering this information on a silver plate."
Cloud covered his eyes again with his hands and laughed. "I'm a dumb blond. Of course I didn't get it." He looked up at Leon over his shoulder. "What's your excuse?"
Leon chuckled and pinched Cloud's side. "I wasn't really listening to them. I was trying to keep from getting too emotional. Mental arithmetic."
Cloud giggled and leaned up to place a kiss against Leon's lips. "When did you find out?"
Leon looked down at his boyfriend and sighed. "Last night. You still hadn't woken up and Zell stayed with me." He paused and looked over at Zell, who nodded at him. "I was… in a bad place. I was scared for you and completely miserable. Zell stayed with me and told me that he did this for us because…" He paused again and looked down at his boyfriend. "Because we need each other."
Cloud bit his trembling lower lip and looked over at Zell. Zell smiled at him. "I couldn't see you two separated, not after seeing how much you mean to one another."
Cloud smiled and looked around the half-packed room covered in boxes. "You're leaving your home."
Zell chuckled and shook his head. "This is a house. We're leaving this house. I have a new one lined up for us and it only adds ten minutes to my commute to school."
"And!" Xander chimed in. "Zell and Irvine would die to be apart over the weekends, seeing how they're partners in crime, and I happen to be dating one of them. Free ride to see you guys on the weekends!"
"And we happen to be friends with the guy dating the partner in crime to your guardian!" Brantley laughed. "Free ride for all!"
The boys laughed and Irvine grinned, catching Cloud's eyes and giving him a nod telling him he approved.
"Really?" Cloud asked, tears feeling as though they were building up in his eyes again.
Irvine chuckled and tightened his arms around Xander. "Gotta keep the boyfriend happy."
Cloud glanced around the room with a smile fixed on his lips. His friends had come over to help him, Leon, and Zell pack for the move. The house didn't even look like the same house he left before school on Friday; boxes pilled everywhere and their belongings scattered among the mess.
Xander smiled and grabbed a box. "We still have a lot of work to do."
"Party here tonight and we'll finish off tomorrow." Zell said. "I have a moving truck reserved for Monday."
The boys began packing again, trying to shoo Cloud and Leon away. They all agreed that the two shouldn't help because of their injuries but the lovers couldn't not stay to help. The atmosphere was light and pleasant and they really wanted to be around their friends so they were eventually allowed to help with light packing as long as they didn't overdo it.
"I told you I had to help Irvine out with something this weekend." Xander said, packing a stack of movies into a box.
"And you said you'd see where it goes from there." Cloud added, winking at Xander before giving him a devilish grin. "Plans?"
Xander faked a cough and covered his mouth with his hand, avoiding Irvine's questioning eyes like the plague.
Sunday was spent much the same way as Saturday night. The boys joked around as they packed, throwing teasing insults at one another, and relishing in being in each others' company. It was all almost too much for Cloud and he still felt like he was in a dream. He didn't want to wake up.
Things seemed surreal before a thought occurred to him and a frown replaced the smile that had been occupying his lips for the past twenty-four hours. Zell was the first to notice and pulled the blond outside. He took a seat on the step and patted the spot next to him.
"What's on your mind, blondie?"
Cloud sat down and cradled his broken wrist with his other hand. "About what happened to me…" he began, eyes looking down at the pavement. "I'm just worried about them."
"Your friends?" Zell asked, as if he needed clarification. "They'll be fine, Cloud."
Cloud's eyes met with Zell's and his frown deepened. "What if Tony and his friends… they might take it all out on them."
Zell shook his head and wrapped an arm around the smaller blond's shoulder. "It's taken care of, Cloud. I'm your guardian now. Tony and his friends won't be touching your friends."
"What do you mean?" Cloud asked, eyes narrowing.
Zell gave a half smirk and looked down at the pavement. "They attacked you and Leon after the fact that you two were in my care. That gives me a lot of power seeing how you guys are still considered minors." He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "I called the police and am pressing charges. He'll more than likely be found guilty of kidnapping, aggravated assault, uttering threats with a weapon, deliberately harming others with a weapon, attempted rape, and… breaking and entering, if you can believe it." Zell let out a chuckle and shook his head. "Tony and his friends probably won't be walking around free for a while. Not with charges like that. I'm pushing for them to be tried as adults considering the seriousness of the crimes." Zell sighed then focused on something in the distance. "Throw as much shit at them and see what sticks." He looked back at Cloud. "Leon wanted to go after them." Cloud frowned then looked down at the ground. "I told him then that you two weren't going to be separated so he shouldn't do anything that would get him arrested." A grin reappeared on Zell's lips. "That would have ruined my master plan. Anyways, Tony and his friends… not a problem."
Cloud's eyes were dazed before he blinded them back into focus. "You did all that?"
Zell smirked and nodded. "No one touches my friends, Cloud. And for the other Tony-supporters who want to give your friends a hard time over what happened, well, lets just say that those boys in there are my friends too." He nodded his head towards the house. "Irvine's even dating one of them. The little bully kiddies will have to deal with what us college boys like to call our own brand of justice. They have their entourage, well so do we." Cloud frowned before Zell continued. "It won't come to that, Cloud. It's over now. Tony's friends know now what Tony is and why he was mad at you and Leon. His support has fizzled and your friends will be just fine."
Cloud smiled and looked down to the pavement. "I'm not used to having so much support."
Zell grinned and gave the smaller blond a quick one-arm embrace. "Get used to it."
Monday morning came around so quickly. Both Leon and Cloud hardly had any sleep the night before due to nerves and… other activities. It didn't show, though, as both were excited to see their new home.
The night before was a happy-sad occasion as the boys said good-bye to their friends before thy left for their own homes. Cloud didn't miss how Irvine and Xander seemed attached at the hip when they left, giving each other subtle glances that probably meant so much more to them than an outside observer could decipher.
When Irvine returned Monday morning to help with the move, Zell grinned at him and received a stupid grin back, Leon and Cloud shaking their heads at what that could mean. Cloud made a mental note to call Xander a little later to offer up tips on how to deal with the fall out from Zell later. Mainly, though, he just wanted the dirty details.
Irvine packed his car as full as he could and the moving truck was filled with all of their combined belongings. Cloud and Leon hopped up into the front of the moving truck with Zell, who honked his horn at Irvine to give him a little scare. He received the finger in return.
"Zell?" Cloud started, voice low. "Do you mind if we make a quick stop before we head out?"
"Where to, blondie?" Zell asked cheerfully.
"The school." Cloud said, eyes meeting Leon's. "I want to see Principal Sephiroth before we leave."
Zell grinned with a nod. "Sure thing." He honked at Irvine again and signalled a left hand turn instead of a right.
Once at the school, Cloud hopped out of the truck and made his way to the principal's office. He offered the receptionist a small smile and asked if the principal was available. She smiled warmly at Cloud and pointed to his usual seat. He smiled back at her before slumping into his chair and letting out a small sigh. He looked around the office, taking in the familiar sight for the last time. He felt a little strange being at school and not attending classes, but this meeting was important to him before he left to his new life.
This is where he first saw Leon. He had no idea then of the things that would happen to him afterwards as he stared at the beautiful brunet, jaded boy who snapped at the principal no longer than minutes after he arrived at Garden Brook High. So much has changed…
"Cloud?" the principal said, holding his office door open as an invite for the blond to enter. Cloud stood up from his chair and made his way to the other all-too familiar chair across from the principal's desk. This time, though, Sephiroth didn't take his own seat but leaned against the desk a few feet from Cloud. "How are you feeling?" His eyes surveyed Cloud's injuries but he didn't seem surprised. He must have been one of the many visitors Leon spoke of in the hospital.
"I'm doing…" Cloud paused, looking down to the ground before he lifted his gaze to meet Sephiroth's. "Great, actually." He smiled.
Sephiroth nodded with a smile as he crossed his arms over his chest. "Glad to hear it."
"You knew, didn't you?" Cloud commented more than asked.
Sephiroth sighed to himself then looked down to the ground. "I was Zell's contact to the Children's Village. He called me the morning after you left the hospital after your black-out. Said he wanted to make things right for you."
"And you didn't think I'd want to know this information?" Cloud asked in an accusing manner though there was no anger behind it.
Sephiroth shrugged and met Cloud's eyes. "You were going through a lot. I offered but you were closed to the idea of knowing who would be your guardian." He paused a moment. "I suppose it would have helped if I told you anyhow but Zell really wanted to be the one to tell you. I didn't want to take that away from him."
Cloud smiled and bit his lower lip. "I'm glad it worked out the way it did. He seemed to really enjoy telling me that I am his bitch now."
Sephiroth chuckled and relaxed his arms, casually supporting his weight with his hands on the desk behind him. "That sounds like Zell. He was always a handful when he schooled here."
Cloud chuckled before scratching the back of his head. "We're heading out now but I wanted to come see you again before we left." He paused, a silence that was maintained by the principal before Cloud continued. "I guess I wanted to say… so much, actually, but thank you." He took another moment before continuing. "You've always looked out for me and did what you thought best for me, even though I hated you for it." Cloud's eyes lifted to meet the principal's. "And you were right; I would be back to thank you for it." He smiled and shook his head. His smiled dropped as did his eyes. "My father left me and I guess I've always sort of seen you as his replacement. I couldn't have survived what I did if you hadn't looked after me concerning Tony. I wouldn't be happy right now if you hadn't stepped in and took care of my home life." His eyes met Sephiroth's again, wet and soft. "Thank you."
Sephiroth smiled and leaned forward, a motion that invited Cloud for an embrace, which the blond did. He squeezed his eyes shut as the principal wrapped his arms around the boy. "I'm so sorry." Cloud whispered. "I'm sorry I was angry at you for helping me."
"It's okay, Cloud. I understand. I'm not upset about it. Never was."
Cloud pulled back from the embrace and wiped away a tear. "You were only trying to help-"
"And you were going through too much." Sephiroth interrupted. "It's an understandable reaction and I've never held it against you."
Cloud smiled and looked down to the ground. "I wouldn't mind keeping in touch, if the offer is still on the table." Cloud looked up at Sephiroth and felt a swell of affection of the man who had watched over him through this whole ordeal.
"You'll take my number this time?" Sephiroth laughed, pulling a card out from his wallet.
Cloud chuckled and nodded. "Yeah, I will."
Sephiroth handed Cloud his card, which was tucked away immediately. "How is Leon doing?"
Cloud smiled at the mere mention of Leon's name. "He's doing good. He doesn't have a concussion and his injuries will heal with time." Cloud glanced up into the principal's eyes. "You were at the hospital, weren't you?"
Sephiroth nodded, a strained frown on his lips. "As soon as I heard what Tony had done to you. I never thought he would take things so far."
"Neither did I." Cloud agreed. "I didn't know he was capable to that; we used to be so close. I've known him since kindergarten."
"He won't be bothering anyone anymore." Sephiroth responded. "And I've already put in measures to make sure everyone else is safe at school. No one should be afraid of who they are."
Cloud smiled and nodded but had nothing to say. He was just glad that something was being done about it.
"You'd better be off." Sephiroth said finally. "You have a long day ahead of you."
Cloud nodded and glanced up at the principal again. "Thank you." he said, hugging Sephiroth one last time.
"Keep in touch." Sephiroth said as the blond moved towards the door. "Let me know how everything is working out for you guys."
Cloud glanced back and smiled. "I will."
Cloud had less than two minutes to wipe all evidence of tears from his eyes before he would in within visual distance of Leon, Zell, and Irvine again. He took a couple of deep breaths as he left the school and smiled at the two boys in the truck and Irvine in his car, who were all watching him. Leon's expression offered nothing but Cloud knew he was happy.
Leon moved over in the truck to give Cloud some space and wrapped his arm around his slender waist. "How did it go?"
Cloud leaned over and kissed Leon's lips gently before smiling. "Really well. I'm so glad I did it."
Leon smiled at him adoringly and took a deep breath. "I'm glad you're happy."
"I'm glad you're with me." Cloud said before looking over at Zell. "I also learned that you were a handful in high school."
Zell rolled his eyes and faked a frown. "That liar."
"Uh huh, that you are." Cloud chuckled.
"That man doesn't know what he's talking about." Zell retorted, starting up the truck.
"Au contraire," Leon countered. "I think he's a reliable informant."
"Al contrario," Zell said with a grin. "I think you're biased."
Leon offered a small grin and looked over at his lover with a soft smile. "I love you."
Cloud smiled and his heart felt like it was melting within his chest. "I love you."
Zell sighed to himself and called Irvine from his cell. He put it on speaker before placing it in the holder. "Yo, need company here. These guys are drowning in affection."
Irvine laughed from the other end of the line. "You got it. Start us off!"
"Ooohhhhhhhhh…" Zell started off key. "Nine hundred ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall-"
"Please lets not…" Leon groaned, hiding his face in blond spikes.
Irvine jumped in with the song and soon they were on the road to their new home. Zell and Irvine ignored Leon's complaining and Cloud's whining and continued with their song as though everyone was having a grand old time.
Cloud grinned to himself and watched Leon's playfully sad eyes implore him to put an end to the loud singing. Cloud pouted playfully and shook his head. Leon's lips twitched and Cloud pointed to them with a hopefully smile. Leon's lips tightened into a frown before a smile broke free and spread across his features. Cloud giggled and pulled Leon in for a deep, passionate kiss, leaning back against the car door and pulling the brunet on top of him. He couldn't stop the singing for his man so he was going to help him ignore it.
The horrible singing aside, Cloud was bursting with happiness as they hit the highway. He had a new family who cared him, great friends who would do anything for him, and a gorgeous boyfriend who loved Cloud as much as Cloud loved him.
He had everything he wanted and much, much more.
I really hope you guys enjoyed this story. I had so much fun writing it, despite the rough patches I went through in life as I wrote it. I'm both happy and sad it's over, but after popping out a couple of more stories that are bouncing around in my head, I will be doing a sequel to Salacity. I think I'll miss Leon too much if I don't and I already have a few great ideas for Salacity II.
Thanks for sticking with me throughout this whole thing. I wanted to say a special thank you to a few others who have kept me going and have been a tremendous support.
First of all, thank you to my friend and muse, KlikStar, for always being there for me. She not only gave me confidence and support while I wrote most of my fics, but she's been an amazing friend when I was going through hell at home. You made things bearable, just knowing that I'm not alone. I won't say sorry for unloading on you all those times because I don't want to make you shake your head at me, but I feel so lucky to have you in my life. Thank you, Klik, and your fic is next. ;P
I also wanted to say thank you to ChrK for being my friend and making me laugh with every single PM. I even have a cast roll now thanks to his picture! :D (Link on my profile! Go see!) I can honestly say that my day brightens whenever I see his name in my inbox. I rushed a few chapters just for you. I hate snow…
A thank you and a completely sincere sorry for Sofia. I am still floored that people really like this fic and your words really made me feel good. The sorry is for being hit-and-miss for replying to your e-mails. Here's to hoping you'll forgive me. Thank you for sharing that picture for Salacity on your DeviantArt account! (Go check it out! Link on my profile!)
Thank you to Revalations for her picture 'Cleon Luvin'', also found on my profile. It makes me giddy and I think you've really captured Cloud and Leon's characterizations beautifully! Thanks for liking this story. I am honestly flattered.
Also, thank you to KyoSohmaLuver for five pictures inspired by Salacity! Links on my profile! Thanks to you, Brad, Brantley, Xander, Eric, and Tony all have a face. That was a real surprise and I adore each picture. Also, I'm in love with the cover you created for Salacity if it were a book. You're very sweet!
I also wanted to give a shout out to Stuffed Fox (that's how I know her, anyhow). I did receive your e-mail and I did keep it. I'm trying to catch up on PMs and review replies now, so I will write you back. Promise! Thank you! *melts*
I really wish I could give an individual shout out to everyone who has left a review or contacted me but then my closing words would be longer than the chapter. I mean it when I say thank you to everyone. Sometimes I think about what others have said about Salacity and I get all giddy. It keeps me up late some nights, no word of a lie.
I'm starting to put together ideas for a novel which I hope to publish some day. Yes, Angel has gotten the author-bug and now I want to see my stories on the bookstore shelves. (Not these ones, obviously.) I'll update my profile when I think of it and keep you posted if you're interested.
I'm going to start to respond to the back-load of reviews I've received so I'm sorry if I begin to send you multiple messages. From now on I'll have a story completed before I begin posting so replies will come more quickly.
Thank you, again!