Quiet: Remember ages ago when I said there'd maybe-possibly be a part 2? Well, here it is. :D

Also, much love to my lovely new beta, AraelMoonchild. I love her so for putting up with me. :3

Breathe in, breathe out.

The only noise in the room is the crinkle of paper unfolding, and the beat of a heart speeding up in anticipation. The dial tone is loud and drones while courage is being worked up.

The light clicking of numbers being pressed, musical beeps singing out as a sweating palm is wiped down frayed jeans.

Take a breath. Count the rings. One…Two…Three…Fo

A muted click indicates a successful connection. "Hello?"

"I've been thinking about you," is the first thing he blurts, and curses himself being so stupid and desperate, and gods this guy probably doesn't even remember him—

There's a surprised silence. Then, "Cloud from the bar?"

"Y-yeah," he confirms, and then coughs, clearing his throat as he straightens his slouch against the wall, even though no one can see him. "Yeah, you gave me your number and I just thought…" What had he been thinking? Why was he calling this guy after a month of silence and thinking and worrying? What could he say that could express what he was feeling?

"I thought about you, too," Genesis admits understandingly, and it is all Cloud can do to hold back the relief he's feeling. "I'd really like to see you when you're not drunk," the redhead says laughingly.

Something in him soars and he finds a light smile tugging at his lips. "Well, I'm not drunk now," he says, and almost wants to hit himself for sounding so flirty, but there is rumbling laughter coming over the line and it relaxes him enough for him to tilt his head back against the wall.

"—your place?" Genesis is saying, and Cloud snaps to attention like he's been slapped.

"Huh?" he utters, and hopes he hasn't offended the other man.

"I said, 'Would you like me to meet you at your place?'" Genesis repeats patiently, mostly sounding amused, and Cloud feels his heart thump wildly in response.

"Ah, sure. That's fine." Another awkward pause.

"We could go out for something," he says, belatedly noting that it is a little after seven and most people would be getting ready to or have already eaten by now.

"I'll pick you up," Genesis announces, and the amusement in his words is no mistake. "We can go to ShinRa's for a nice, quiet dinner."

"See you in forty."

"I'll be waiting."

Breathe in, breathe out.

Hang up the phone and collapse on the bed, breathing like a marathon runner.

Who would have thought, he wonders.

Cloud Strife actually had the courage to make a date of his own willpower.

It is after they've spent a few months dating that Genesis finally brings Cloud back to his house. Just the sight is enough to stir pleasant memories and Cloud is dismayed to find that he wishes his memories of that night would be refreshed.

Curious blue eyes glance at him, and Cloud realizes he's been standing at the front door staring at nothing for several minutes. Even worse, his cheeks feel hot and the sudden flash of heat in the other man's gaze tells him that his thoughts have been guessed at and acknowledged.

He scurries inside, mindful of his shoes on the tasteful white carpeting and takes his first real look inside the house of his…friend? Boyfriend? Soon-to-be lover? Shaking his head at himself, Cloud makes his way around the living room, eyeing volumes of poetry and novella all carefully aligned on a generous bookcase.

After a moment, his eyes roam once more while Genesis watches him peer around, his slim hands automatically going through the motions of pouring them glasses of some kind of champagne that Cloud has no hope of ever learning to pronounce.

His eyes alight on a picture, standing large and obviously well cared for against the far wall. Curiosity struck, he pads towards it, unaware of the way Genesis has paused and carefully set down the slim-necked bottle.

"Who is he?" Cloud asks, fingers lightly running over the picture in Genesis' living room that has a large, burly male staring at the camera with a faint, rueful smile upon his face.

A working man is what his mother would have termed him. All muscle and hard planes, as if he'd been doing outdoor labor all his life. But despite all that, his look was content, as if all that he wanted was within reach.

"Angeal," Genesis murmurs quietly, hands folding in his lap as he gazes at the picture wistfully. "His name was Angeal."

Cloud finds himself tracing a finger across the man's striking features before turning and looking at the redhead, who seems to be awaiting a response from him. "Was he…?"

"Yes." He takes a deep breath, then gives a long exhale. Elegant fingers bunch in soft pant fabric, twisting and releasing. "He was my first friend when we were growing up and then…"

Hesitance. A soft smile flickers over angular features as blue eyes grow fond. "…My first love. He was…always looking out for my happiness, even when it denied him his own."

We're so alike, Cloud thinks, and compares himself to this man with haunted eyes and lingering regrets.

He seats himself beside the other man, eyes closing as he mulls over the subtle differences and similarities before opening them to stare at Genesis.

"Zack was the same," he manages, throat wanting to close on that name, but he forces himself to say it anyway; if Genesis can face his ghost then why can't he?

"He was always trying to do his best and daring me to keep up with him," he says, almost to himself, it seems. "He was honest and kind, and sometimes just looking at him hurt because he was brighter than the sun."

Long fingers wrap around his own and squeeze, while the other brushes pale fingers across his cheeks. It isn't until he sees the faint sheen on Genesis's fingers that he realizes he's been crying.

Genesis's voice is quiet. "You loved him very much, didn't you?"

"He had a girlfriend," Cloud says dully, turning and resting his head against the warm chest beneath him. "We couldn't be together like that because he didn't wanna hurt her, so…"

"You never told him," Genesis finishes, hiding the sympathy in his eyes by dipping his chin into soft blond spikes.

Lifting their joined hands, Cloud inspects them for a moment before rubbing his thumb across the back of Genesis's knuckles. "I didn't want him to hate me."

"Somehow, I think hating you would be rather hard," Genesis breathes, and leans down to brush his lips across Cloud's.

A look of awe crosses Cloud's face as he leans back from the circle of Genesis's arms and leans back from the circle of Genesis's arms and sees the look in the other man's face—love, acceptance, and most importantly, the desire to make new memories.

Genesis can see himself reflected in those sky blues eyes and realizes that this is what he had been waiting for—Cloud to see him and work for what they had both been so desperate for all those months before.

In silent agreement, both men rise from the couch, Genesis's hands lightly clasping Cloud's sweating palm as he leads him towards his room.

There's patience in the slow slide of cloth from skin, and the light creak of the bed as they settle into it together, legs entangling and lips pressing together. Pulses pound as blood races, and there are no other thoughts besides each other in both minds as eyes meet and understanding is reached—this is what they had waited for. What they had been needing.

Cloud's breath hitches and at the first slow glide of heated skin against his own, and then he raises his hips to meet Genesis's, breathless whimpers being pulled from his very core as they move together, two becoming one.

"Cloud," Genesis moans, and Cloud whispers the redhead's name back between shudders in perfect agreement.

Afterwards, there's silence as their frantically beating hearts begin to settle, blond hair settled against red as they lay in bed together, tangled up in one another as Genesis strokes wondering hands up a pale arm.

"Aren't you happy you called me again?" the older man teases, lips brushing through blond spikes.

Cloud nods. He'd never been happier.

Quiet: lol no smut for joo.