"Are there any other wounds I haven't seen?"

"None."

"That's a lie," the blonde said, closing his eyes with a sigh. "You're favoring your right shoulder, Leon." It was hard to fool his eyes, they had seen everything. "Let me see."

"I'm, fine, Cloud," the brunette said, shrugging him off. "I've had worse."

As Cloud listened to him speak, his mind flashed to the excruciating battle they'd just fought themselves through. There were at least 1,000 Heartless surrounding them in the middle of the gorge… But they had to fight through them to protect the rest of Hollow Bastion. Cloud understood that, but he would be quite content with never having to fight that long again.

He was sure that it took almost as long to kill all those Heartless as it did to kill Sephiroth… Though he knew that Sephiroth really wasn't dead. He didn't want to think about that now. Right now, his thoughts were focused on…

Why had Leon's scarred and bloodied face been the predominant image in his head when he was fighting? He had been working so hard to make sure the man at his back hadn't fallen to the darkness like he was trying not to… Was that his true reason for fighting?

-x-

"Cloud, hey. Did you hit your head?" Leon waved his hand in front of Cloud's face. The blonde had a tendency to space out sometimes, lost in thought. Usually this wasn't a big deal, but in the aftermath of that battle, the gunblader was afraid that an injury to the head could be the cause for this. Of course, Cloud could be too proud to admit this to him, like he usually was.

Leon was sure that Cloud had gotten just as hurt as he himself had, but the blonde wouldn't let him see any potential injuries he could have. He suspected it was because he was so used to taking care of himself. "It's okay to rely on other people every once in a while, Cloud," he muttered as he watched the blonde's eyes focus again.

"Huh?" Cloud shook his head a little, bringing himself back to the present. Leon watched him, frowning. He could see that it was taking too long for him to focus again. That's definitely a sign of a concussion.

"Cloud, sit down," Leon commanded. He needed to get him ice, whether or not it was a real concussion. His blue eyes narrowed authoritatively and placed a hand on the blonde's sleeveless shoulder.

"I'm fine, Leon. I don't need to…" A look from the brunette silenced him, and he sat down in a nearby armchair. Just by watching him, Leon could tell that he was a little dizzy. I hope it's not too serious… he thought.

"I'm going to get you ice," Leon said slowly, making sure that Cloud could understand him. He waited until the man nodded his agreement to walk away.

Why is it so important that he's okay? the gunblader wondered to himself as he found the ice in the kitchen and put it in a bag to rest on Cloud's head. The only other time he'd been as concerned about something was when he was trying to protect everyone at their world's end. And that hadn't been for a single person's safety… He blinked as he realized that the only reason he was this concerned about saving this world was that the one guarding his back would be engulfed in the darkness.

What does that mean? Is he really that special to me? he asked himself, wrapping the ice-filled bag with a towel. And if he is… What does that mean about me? Leon, even when he was still known by his other name, had never considered himself interested in men, and he'd been acquainted with many good-looking men back in his home world. He'd never been attracted to them, or had even really liked them much… Maybe they were just annoying. Cloud was the first one he'd actually been able to stand.

A drink of water would probably also be a good idea… he thought. He grabbed a glass and held it under the tap to fill it up. He didn't think Cloud's concussion was too bad. After all, he hadn't had trouble walking, or talking. Just some trouble focusing. And the look on his face as he struggled to get his eyes to work right was-

Damn it, I am a homo, Leon thought, face-palming his forehead. The word he'd thought of was none other than 'adorable.' Straight men did not think that word about other men. How did I go so long without realizing this?? He had to keep himself from dropping the glass as it hit him. He'd caught himself looking at the way the sun had glinted off of the blonde's golden hair, or the way he could swing that huge sword with such agility. Damn… I've liked him for a long time, haven't I? he asked himself.

He went back into the other room to see that the other hadn't really moved much. Has my heart always pounded like this when I see him? he questioned himself. Making sure he didn't let his voice waver, he asked, "Hey, how are you feeling? Still dizzy?"

Cloud's glowing blue eyes turned in his direction, and he blinked. "No, I'm fine, Leon." Leon had to admit, he did look like he had more color in his cheeks. That was a good sign.

"Just humor me and take the ice," he said gruffly, not knowing how to act in light of his newly-discovered feelings. Maybe he should bring up the topic? No, it was too soon after the battle. The only thing that should have been on his mind was the recent devastation that had happened, and how Hollow Bastion was going to recover. Not how he was worried about Cloud and how much he seemed to be in love with the blonde man… Right?

-x-

Cloud could immediately tell that something was wrong with Leon. He was a difficult man to read, but, then again, Cloud was too. So he read Leon's expressions and movements better than most. He reached out and set the ice on his head where it was a bit sore.

"And the water, too, Cloud," the gunblader commanded him. He held a glass of water in his gloved hand, which Cloud accepted grudgingly. He was fine by now- he'd used a potion on himself while Leon was gone. So any concussion he might have had was long gone.

He took a sip of the water, watching the way Leon seemed to relax as he swallowed. Am I only doing this because I want him to calm down? he thought. Most of the time, if he was fine, he'd reject any help offered to him. Heck, even if he wasn't fine, he'd usually reject anyone's potential help. That was just how he was. But Leon was so… He didn't want the man to worry.

The picture of Leon being dragged into the darkness flashed through his head again, and he had to keep himself from wincing at it. The stoic expression remained on his face as he looked back into Leon's eyes. What would you call that color of blue? he wondered. Sky? Azure? Turquoise? Shit, I'm contemplating the color of his eyes. Cloud had known for a while that he was attracted to both men and women, but he hadn't let himself get attached to anyone in a long time. Certainly not enough to actually develop feelings for them…

Their hands brushed as Cloud returned the empty glass to Leon, and they both felt the shock passing through it. They both blinked at each other for a few seconds. This is a little awkward… Cloud thought. It had been a long time since he'd actually felt awkward. He stood up, which ended up making the situation even more uncomfortable because it put their faces only a few inches apart.

There was silence for a long time as their breath mixed together. Cloud could almost feel his heart pound through his ribcage. Neither of them moved for fear of what would happen next. Then the door slammed open and they both jumped. "Wow, am I interrupting something??" Yuffie's cheerful voice chirped.

Both of them turned to see the young ninja carrying an armful of items. She probably got them from the Heartless… Cloud thought. Whatever the case was, her entrance completely ruined whatever moment had been going on before. Cloud was kind of disappointed that she had come in.

"Whatever you two are doing, you just keep on doing it. I'm just dropping these off." The girl had a huge smile on her face as she dumped all the potions and ethers into the treasure chest in the corner. "See you two later!" she sang, skipping out to presumably do more damage to the Heartless population.

After a few more silent moments, Cloud broke the silence. "Was she interrupting something?" he asked in a low voice. His glowing eyes fixed onto Leon's (he decided they were azure) blue orbs. Reading the expression he found there, he decided to go for it.

Pulling the other's shoulders down, he pressed his lips against Leon's. It was a good thing they were close to the same height, because otherwise it would've been more difficult for the 5'7" blonde to kiss him with as much force as he wanted to. As much as he'd predicted the kiss would be welcome, he was still surprised when Leon actually kissed back.

Soon their tongues were wrestling with each other, and Leon's back was up against the wall. Cloud pressed against him, wanting to feel Leon's warm body up against his. To his delight, he felt Leon's fingers twist into his hair. He likes it too… he thought in satisfaction. This was going to be fun.

-x-

Why am I the one being pushed up against the wall? Leon thought as his hands slid down Cloud's back to rest on his hips. He'd always thought he'd be the dominant one in any relationship. But, then again, maybe Cloud had more experience in these manners, despite his sullen personality. Screw that. Still holding onto the blonde, he flipped so that Cloud was the one up against the wall with his hands pinned up above his head.

The blonde seemed to like this, and his determination to be the dominant one faltered a little. Leon's tongue shot into his mouth, exploring every inch of Cloud's wet cavern. He tasted much sweeter than the gunblader would've expected him to. He loved it.

Cloud let out a small grunt and arched his back so that their bodies were pressed against each other. He managed to pull his hands out from underneath Leon's and sling his arms around his neck. Reacting to this, and also wanting to do some more, Leon slid a knee in between Cloud's legs, spreading them apart more.

The blonde man moaned a little and rubbed himself up against the gunblader's leg, wanting more friction down in his lower region. Leon in turn groaned and attacked Cloud's neck with his mouth, nibbling and sucking. Cloud couldn't keep himself from making a louder sound as he ran his hands down Leon's back. How had Leon found his sensitive spot so quickly?

It wasn't until Leon actually slid a hand down Cloud's front and squeezed that Cloud actually opened his mouth in a true moan. "God… Squall…" he groaned, melting into the man's touch. The name had slipped out by accident, but it made sense: He'd thought of Leon by his real name for years.

Most of the time, Leon would get angry if someone used his old name, but in this context… He was surprised to find that it was an incredible turn on. Almost instantly, he'd picked up the smaller man, deciding that this was not going to end as just a make-out session.

-x-

"Yuffie, you might not want to go in there," Aerith Gainsborough warned the younger girl as she went to open the door to the house.

Yuffie was carrying another armful of items she'd stolen from the Heartless. "Why not? I need to drop off these things…" Her expression was one of utter confusion. Why in the world shouldn't she go inside? It was going to get dark soon… And she was pretty tired from fighting all those Heartless, so she did want to rest for the night.

The flower-seller shook her head a little. "Cloud and Leon are, er, expressing their feelings for each other at the moment. We shouldn't interrupt them."

Expressing their… Feelings? Yuffie blinked. "They have feelings for each other?" One would never be able to tell. At least telling someone how much you like them doesn't take very long. Yuffie figured she'd be in the house and sleeping in no time.

Aerith nodded. "Evidently. If you listen, you can hear…" She tilted her head so her ear was closer to the house, then blushed and looked away, embarrassed.

Yuffie, curious as to what would embarrass the gentle girl, stuck the side of her head to the door. Her face turned red as she heard the thumping, heavy breathing, and moaning coming from inside. "Oh." She flinched away from the door like it had burned her. "Th-that's what you meant."

"Yes… And it might be a while. If you'd like, you can stay at my house for the night." She smiled kindly, her blue-green eyes soft.

It took less than a second for Yuffie to make her decision. "I am so there. Let's go."

-x-

After much longer than either of the two had expected, they collapsed, exhausted and satisfied, onto the bed. Cloud averted Leon's gaze, suddenly uncomfortable as he realized what he'd done. What was I thinking? Obviously not much… But, as embarrassed as he was about it, he couldn't bring himself to regret it. How could he, when it had felt so good? Though it had started out as purely physical, almost like they had been fighting each other, it had turned into something much more than mere lust. They had connected, and that connection was the embarrassing part. He had never, not ever, let himself do that before. It was…

"Hey. Cloud."

A hand brushed his cheek, causing the blonde man to open his eyes. He'd closed them to feign sleep, but obviously Leon had seen right through that… "What?"

Without saying a word, an arm snaked around him and pulled him closer. Cloud had no choice but to lay his head on Leon's still-sweaty chest. Twice, they had done it, with their positions switched the second time. Cloud wasn't sure which way he liked it better. He felt surprisingly gentle lips press to his forehead, and was shocked to find that he didn't mind this cuddling either. He'd never thought of himself as a cuddly person.

With glowing blue eyes, he looked up at Leon. "What is it?" he asked a second time. He knew Leon wasn't too much of a talker, though he'd definitely expanded his sentences over the years.

"Cloud, I think I'm in love with you," the gunblader said. The expression on his face was one of bewilderment, like he was surprised that he actually admitted it. Nevertheless, he held Cloud's gaze to show his sincerity.

"I…I think I'm in love with you too…"

Soon, the two of them drifted off into a peaceful slumber, in the arms of the one who'd been their focus all along.