"You need to be more careful." Leon could have easily been lecturing to thin air for the concern Cloud seemed to give his words. The blond squirmed and lifted his arms to let his worried companion wrap bandages, but his only immediate verbal response was an occasional grunt or whimper.

"I could say the same to you." Cloud stretched arms high above his head and arched his back while Leon finished the hasty dressing of some ugly but, thankfully, far from mortal wounds. He twisted carefully to crack his back and let out a relieved sigh, "I was only trying to protect you anyway."

"I'd rather not see you hurt." Leon grunted in response while he packed away the first aid kit and shoved it back into the bedside table's drawer. They had been sharing the same room, the same bed even, for weeks now. Their agreed upon guise was physical need, but the bond between them was as undeniable as it was utterly secret.

"Really?" Cloud peeped his response and turned to watch Leon lounge back on the bed, legs crossed and back supported against plaster wall behind him. The blond's head ached just as much as his chest, and his judgement was far from perfect. He had been sliced to hell and knocked unconscious at some point earlier in the day. Perfect clarity had yet to return.

"Well yeah. The hell would I wanna see you hurt for?" Leon adjusted himself back against the wall and worked hard on looking stoic. He was worried as hell still, though it couldn't compare to the moment Cloud hit the ground. The sound was sickening, and when the last of their enemies was done away with, he remembered cracking both his knees on stone to get to the blond's side. He also well-recalled the moment of panic when he couldn't feel a pulse beneath gloved fingers, the leather cover completely forgotten in a hazy moment.

Cloud accepted this response and hid any disappointment he felt at it with a harsh shiver. The window was open across the room and a fairly mild breeze still had a cool bite against his mostly unclothed body. Without hesitation, Cloud stretched out at Leon's side and wrapped himself around the other. An arm slung around Leon's toned midsection and Cloud's head nestled in against his chest. The blond reached and tugged a blanket up to his own waist, then let his heavy eyes fall shut for a moment.

"If you're tired, I can move." The injured warrior's new pillow murmured. He wouldn't let Cloud know how much he needed this- to feel the warm weight of his lover against him, even breaths warm through the light fabric of his shirt.

"I'm fine like this." When Cloud responded, a tiny smile curled at his lips. He was certain he heard a relieved sigh slipping from his companion's chest, masked under a much more intriguing sound. Leon's heart thudded steady and strong, just beneath his cheek, a delightfully reassuring cadence.

The battle today was a blur, but they were often the same. More and more heartless, followed by more and more dusks. It was a rare occasion when they put up a fight, but Cloud came to the quick conclusion that today was one of those uncommon days. He could imagine that Leon was in trouble at the moment, and could even feel a spike of adrenaline as he forged a mental recreation of the possible events.

Leon was Cloud's life, or at very least his most convincing reason to live it. Whether or not he would admit as much was an entirely different story. Secrecy aside, though, the blond went into battle ready and willing to lay down his life to protect his love. The steady drumbeat in his ear was reassurance he'd done his job.

"Were you worried?" Cloud ventured the question with slight tension. He felt like he was torturing himself with it, already certain of the answer. He was a toy to Leon, something fun to play with and put back on the shelf when it came down to business. It killed him, but if he could pretend they were doing more than fucking, Cloud would take it.

"You ask stupid questions." Leon groaned in response, but his cheek rested against soft spikes and he inhaled the scent of sweat and shampoo and maybe some leftover blood. He wasn't about to tell the truth- that he'd been as worried as ever in his life- but his heart sped beneath his ribs. He cursed the unruly machine within him and prayed Cloud didn't feel it under his cheek.

"You give stupid answers." yet, for the moment, Cloud was hopeful. He was certain Leon's heart began to beat a little faster at the question, and the blond was desperate for any sign of fondness.

"What do you expect me to say?" he closed his eyes now, one arm wrapping around Cloud. He felt protective, though the worry was easing. Like this, nothing could hurt the precious man beside him. He wouldn't allow it.

"No." Cloud whispered his response, bare and honest. He hadn't expected Leon to say anything at all, and his dismissive response was better than what his mind had formulated. Any number of ways to say, 'why should I care about you' played through Cloud's head, in Leon's deep, emotionless voice. The most vital sound of his strong heart kept tempo of the words.

"I wasn't worried." Leon lied, voice flat, "You're strong enough to survive a few heartless. I was just a little annoyed. You should be more careful." Cloud winced at his reprimand this time, and attributed it to anger when he felt Leon's heart thumping harder against his cheek.

"Why should I be careful?" the blond sighed in response, trying to find comfort again in the heart that anchored him. He hurt everywhere, not eager for the inevitable conversation. He didn't need Leon to tell him that there were no feelings, at least none above the belt, "If I die, I die. Least you weren't hurt."

"You're just trying to get me angry, aren't you?" Leon sighed, heart galloping now. He couldn't decide what Cloud was trying to do, aside from ruffle his feathers. The blond didn't move, though, and he tightened his hold a little bit around him. Cloud would kill him if he knew that what saved the younger man from that moment of anger was how goddamn cute he looked.

"I want you to be happy." Cloud argued. He was reluctant to leave the vital metronome, but he sat up so that he leaned back against Leon, didn't have to look at him while he spoke, "And safe. When we leave this room, I can't make you happy. I can keep you safe, though, and I'll do that no matter what it means for me." he spoke with conviction and easily ignored the stabbing pain in his belly when he finally said it. He said it, and now it was real, "You mean more to me than just a good orgasm."

"Let me guess," Leon began, feeling quite like all the air had been sucked right out of his lungs, "you've already decided that I don't share the sentiment." the idea bothered him more than he expected. Guilt gnawed on him as he considered how needlessly cold he had apparently been toward the thoroughly broken man he loved.

"You've already said it doesn't mean anything." Cloud reasoned.

"And you agreed to that." he pointed out, grabbed Cloud's wrist when the blond tried to push himself away.

"I thought it would feel good." Cloud was still struggling against Leon's grip, and a sharp pain stabbed into the side of his chest to keep him immobile. He missed his friend's concerned expression, eyes shut while he tried to catch his breath, "but once we leave this room, that feeling goes away." Leon didn't want to admit that he shared this vulnerable feeling, nor did he much want to come clean about his own emotions. Even less than that, though, did he want to see Cloud do another damn stupid thing because of him.

"Do you want me to say that I love you?" Leon's eyes avoided Cloud's and he let go of his wrist, "I'll say that, if it's what you want to hear." the blond didn't leave. He sat on the bed, hunched and deflated and shivering again.

"I don't want you to say that." he whispered, wrapping sore arms around himself, "I just want you to do it."

"What if I already do?" it was an admission, the closest Leon would need to come to saying those words.

"Then show me." the shivering mess contended from the edge of the bed. Leon, in response, carefully gathered Cloud into his arms. He lay back into the mess of blankets and pillows and tugged Cloud on top of him.

They had kissed before, over nearly every inch of each others' bodies. Previous nights of passion were a dull memory in comparison to the fireworks between them now. Leon made no moves to strip down, though, and he tugged Cloud back down against his chest. He held him tight, enclosed in strong arms and shielded from the world.

"Are you going to fuck me?" The blond asked, no opposition in his voice, though perhaps a bit of disappointment.

"Don't be an idiot." Leon smirked when he responded, "I'm going to keep you safe."

Cloud couldn't have been happier, tucked back close to his lover's steady heart.