game; Kingdom Hearts II
pairing;
Cloud/Leon
warnings;
hints of shonen-ai/yaoi (boyxboy), foul language & violence (well, sparring sessions)
disclaimer;
I do not own Kingdom Hearts or the characters used
summary;
Leon hates Cloud and it's as simple as that. But more often than not, simple things such as facts are actually pretty damn complicated.

&&&

"Spar."

The words were barely audiable, really, and Leon was surprised himself that he had actually managed to pick them up.

It wasn't that the familiar voice (yes, familiar, despite the lack of times Leon had actually heard it) was soft or tentative, quite the opposite - never anything less than firm, but low. Wary. Dangerous. And rarely used, unless it was absolutely necessary.

It wasn't very common that the stoic blonde spoke directly to him, least of all actually requested something. Cloud just seemed to have a problem with words - with using words - and Leon couldn't blame him, seeing as he wasn't some smooth-talker himself. That being said, Cloud's voice made his skin prick in all kinds of disturbing ways without even asking for permission, and he didn't like it. At all.

He carefully adverted his steel-shaded gaze to the other, not moving from his position in which he was leaning against the wall with arms crossed.

Protected and on his guard - like always. Because, after all, he'd be lying if he said that he trusted the blonde warrior.

"Now?" the brunet asked, arching an elegant eyebrow, managing to look blank and 'whatever-y' (as Yuffie would've described it).

A curt nod was the only reply he got, unnaturally bright blue eyes locked with his, almost daring him to say no. Leon couldn't help but notice the challenge behind that gaze, and his natural instincts told him to accept immediately.

"Fine", he stated.

Wasting no time - or words, for that matter - Cloud turned abruptly and went for the door, the unspoken dare clouding the air with tension. Leon snorted, obviously irritated, but followed nonetheless - Gunblade thrown casually over one shoulder, resting against the fur of his jacket.

The only sound was the soft thunk of Cloud's boots as they came in contact with the ground, Leon watching the other's back intently as if he could burn a hole through it on their little stroll to the Bailey.

He hated it.

Hated the way Cloud walked with his head held up high and his shoulders drawn back, an aura of certainty and courage surrounding him without him even noticing - it seemed like it came natural to him, the infuriating presence that was always stifling the air (well, as far as Leon was concerned) despite the blonde not actually doing anything other than keeping his mouth shut and tense and his eyes narrowed to slits and always watching.

Suddenly, the owner of the Buster sword stopped, which left the brunet with no other choice than to also halt in his step right next to him.

Cloud fixed his mako-gaze upon him, silently trying to get some message across with the help of a very insistent glare, and then started walking again, this time at a slower pace. A pace so drawn-out that Leon practically had to walk next to the blonde.

Leon wondered if that had been Cloud's very intention, but decided to drop it almost the second it popped into his head. He didn't have time to ponder about something as meaningless as a small gesture, and even less so seeing as it had come from the person that probably occupied his mind the least, no matter how 'mysterious' and 'interesting' Yuffie claimed the blonde to be.

But it kind of irritated him, though, as he watched the others calm and collected appearance, knowing that Cloud probably didn't overthink even half as much as Leon did all the time.

And he hated it.

&&&

If he liked Cloud at all, it was when he saw him like this.

Hair tousled, electric eyes wild and narrowed, full lips parted and gasping for shallow breaths, muscles clenching and un-clenching as his body worked with great precision and all of the coordination Leon would've expected from just watching him walk.

Cloud was a warrior to the very end of his finger tips, even a blind man could tell. It was like he breathed solemnly for fighting, and damn if he couldn't fight.

Leon, with something hot-red-oh rushing through his veins, realized that they were actually pretty much equal; swords clashing and blades connecting and re-connecting, both of them too stubborn and too damn proud to lose but too good-natured to not respect the other if only for his skills.

With a savage growl so unlike Cloud's usual monotone, the blonde threw himself at the other warrior, managing to strike one, two, three times with an impressing speed for such a large blade. Leon, being as flexible and fast as he was, obviously countered the attacks with his own quiet but deadly ones, leaving them both gasping for air.

Something snapped inside of him (and maybe it was all the logic in the world, throwing itself off a cliff together with the self-control he had left), something akin to a resolve breaking.

Leon threw his head back, messy bangs plastered to his sweaty cheeks and Cloud was practically shaking from the strain, desperately forcing air into his lungs and, and, and-

(no words could possibly describe the sudden rush of adrenaline overwhelming the Gunblade-wielder's senses)

-and fuck but he hadn't really felt like this (well, ever) since-

(since-)

"Rinoa", Yuffie had whispered, something warm and wet clouding her round eyes. "It's okay, Squall. You can say her name. It's okay."

Cloud, like any other fighter, took advantage of Leon's momentary hesitation as the memory of a black-haired angel with the most delicate skin ripped open scars better left forgotten.

He striked, and a heartbeat later, Leon found himself on the ground; pinned down by Cloud's huge and uncomfortably heavy blade and his own stupidity. The brunet hissed, eyes narrowing dangerously - he had let his guard down. For the first time in about ten years he had let his guard down. And in front of Cloud, no less. He was disgusted with himself.

The so-much-brighter-than-the-sky eyes watched him warily for a moment, both of them taking their time in regaining the breath that had been knocked out of their lungs. And then, as if on a cue, Cloud leaned down until their bodies were pressed together in every heart-wrenching, finger-twitching, get-off-me-or-I'll-kill-you-way, a little too close for comfort for both of their tastes.

But the blonde's hot breath ghosted over Leon's ear (and he kindasortamaybe thought he whispered something - it's okay, Squall - that was just his imagination, obviously) before he stood swiftly, not missing a beat as he turned around and started walking back.

"I win", was thrown carelessly over his broad shoulder, and Leon remained still, not quite sure where to move on from here. He hated himself for his own weakness.

&&&

No matter how cold Cloud's skin was, it always managed to burn him in all kinds of ways - good or bad, he wasn't sure.

Leon hated it with every cell of his body, but he longed for it just as much; for that bittersweet aftertaste in his mouth (like ashes, like something ever so s l o w l y dying).

And then the world ceased and all that was left was Cloud's warm pink mouth and his strong body (not strong in the sense of his muscles - although he certainly didn't lack anything there - but strong because of the burden he carried for both of them) and Cloud's intense, dazzling and dangerous-to-look-at-for-too-long-eyes that took him to worlds that Sora could never find, no matter how many journeys he went on.

Leon simply hated it.

But then again, hate was something that was perhaps just as complicated as love - or maybe even more - and that was exactly why he purposely avoided Cloud's eyes when he was above him and inside him and shaking his world until it was just as damaged and broken as Leon himself.

dood. this is what happens when i feel guilty for not finishing the stories i've started and try to finish them within 24 hours just because i'm going to another country.