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One Diagonal Scar

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Cloud crosses the Bailey, meaning to head for the Dark Depths. The sun is up - it's one of those endless summer days that Cloud, maybe a little less than half drawn to the darkness, maybe a little more, feels like a blight - and it's already hot. The sky is a burnt blue, empty and endless, and nothing under it is moving. The claymores are humming quietly to themselves, idling in the late morning stillness, and nothing else disturbs the rare calm.

Or not quite nothing. As Cloud crosses the Bailey he hears the steady chink-chunk-clink of someone working in the Restoration Site. Almost without thinking, he changes direction.

It's Leon, down among the fallen masonry and splintered timbers, his hair pulled back in a loose ponytail, his jacket hanging on the rough end of a beam jutting drunkenly out of the skewed ruin. Cloud squints into the light, watching the shadows gather in pools under the muscles behind Leon's arms as they swell with the strain of lifting the blocks of rubble. It's hot, and as Cloud watches Leon drags the back of one big hand across his forehead, smearing aside the stray strands of hair that are plastered there, the back of his white t-shirt dark with sweat. His hands are coated with dust, and he balls the front of his shirt in his fists, wiping his hands clean on the thin cotton before pulling it off over his head.

Cloud is meaning to call out to him, meaning to head on into the Dark Depths, meaning to not stare. But he's remembering the feel of Leon's back against his; the susurrating rattle and clatter of the heartless massed around them; the broad swell of flesh and muscle behind him as he readied himself to fight.

Down in the Restoration Site, Leon stretches, and wipes at his front with the balled-up t-shirt before shaking it out and hanging it over the beam alongside his jacket. Cloud is meaning to not stare, but the muscles in Leon's back are sliding over each other as he moves, and across his shoulders - tanned to the colour of cherry wood - is a spatter of freckles. When he was a boy, Clopud had lain with Tifa in the forests outside of Nibelheim, and they'd talked into the night about how one day, somehow, they'd not be here anymore, stuck in a dead backwater that wasn't even in the middle of nowhere, staring at the stars smeared across the vault of the heavens until the afterimage was burnt into their eyes. And that's what Cloud is seeing now, constellations dancing across Leon's back; galaxies spiralling across his shoulders.

Cloud is strong, but his strength has been forged in suffering and disappointment. A poisonous strength for which he is more conduit than container. Cloud's strength flows through him, and it takes as much as it gives and leaves him hard, and narrow, and as taut as a drawn string.

Leon's strength is different. Cloud doesn't know too much about his history, but he knows there was a boy called Squall, and he has a suspicion that that boy is still there, wrapped up inside the armour that Leon has built to protect him. Leon's strength is a shield, a warning, a barrier between Squall and the world, thick and tough and impervious, built to hide the boy inside the man.

Below him, in the Restoration Site, Leon turns, straightens up and stretches, and Cloud - still meaning to not stare - sees the sheen of sweat glistening on his skin, the swell and roll of the muscles in his chest and shoulders, the jump and twitch of his midriff. Cloud swallows heavily, feeling a little churn of something uncomfortable wriggling in his gut.

Back in Nibelheim, the streams jumped and tumbled down the mountain, rolling boulders over their rocky beds, and in the summer, when the rivers started to dry, heaps of wet boulders would lie gleaming in the sun, their honey colour fading as they dried. Round and wet and every surface curving into the next, dark pools of shadow nestling between them, and Cloud looks at Leon and feels the velvet drag of his fingers over the wet rocks, the smooth hard arcs beneath his palms, the comfort of something solid in a world that wouldn't stay still. Remembers the sensation of Leon's broad back pressed against his own narrow shoulders as the Heartless gathered around them.

Below him, in the Restoration Site, Leon turns back to his work, hesitating for just a moment as he squints into the sun, peering up towards the parapet Cloud has ducked behind as if he's not quite sure if there's something there. But everything is still, the Claymore's idling in the rare early afternoon calm, and with a shrug he turns back to his work.

Cloud stills the tremor of his heart and for the Dark Depths, very badly needig to fight, hoping for Sephiroth.

Desk Job

May. 24th, 2016 01:17 pm
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Because he is concentrating on the book he is reading, leaning over the heavy leather-bound volume propped up on the lectern as he struggles to decipher the antiquated letters, Leon doesn't hear Cloud come into the study.

Cloud hesitates in the doorway for a moment, looking at the spread of Leon's shoulders, the swell of his triceps, the inch of neck showing where he's pushed his hair behind one ear, and steps up behind him, wrapping his arms around Leon’s hard midriff.


Leon feels Cloud’s breath in his ear, his fingers knotting in the front of his t-shirt, his knees pushing into the backs of his knees.

Defences to be mended… Cloud’s hands move to cup the knobs of bone at Leon’s hips… rota to organise… his teeth closing over the back of his ear lobe… oh, god…

Leon gropes behind him blindly with one hand, burying his fingers in the soft spikes of Cloud’s hair, turns around inside his arms, leans back against the lectern. “Yeah,” he mutters, “w...”

Cloud covers Leon's open mouth with his own, tongue pushing in, fingers under fabric, pulling at his flesh, up over the taut muscles of his stomach, up onto the heavy slabs of his chest, thumbs rough on his nipples. Leon gasps against Cloud's urgency, again as Cloud's teeth close on his lower lip, again as he pushes his hips into Leon, hard against him.

Leon drops his hands to cradle Cloud's ass, pulls him closer, mashing his mouth against him, teeth and tongues and saliva and Cloud's breath short and quick in his nose.

"Fuck me," Cloud breathes, fingers tugging at the belts draped around Leon's waist. He is making a little sound in his throat, feral and needy. "Fuck me."

Cloud has the belts undone and Leon's trousers down around his thighs, both hands pulling at him. "Fuck me, Leon. Fuck me. Fuck me."

Leon takes Cloud by the shoulders and turns him, bends him forward over the curving desk. Cloud has his own trousers around his knees, is fumbling at Leon's stiff dick behind him, almost dragging him in. Leon feels the tight nub of Cloud's muscle, pushes forwards, and forwards, and forwards. Cloud shouting.

Leon means to go slow, but Cloud is screwed to the sticking place, taut and tight around him, yelling and bucking under him. Cloud comes on Leon's fifth thrust, stuff stuttering across the top of Ansem's desk. Leon is only seven panted breaths behind, growling through gritted teeth as he falls forwards over Cloud's shaking shoulders.

"So what was that about?" Leon asks, when he can speak again.

Cloud shrugs, pulling the disordered spikes back into place on his head. "Nothing."

"Nothing?" Leon raises an eyebrow.


"Okay. Well, in that case," Leon pulls his pants up, fastens the belts around him, "I should get back to work."

"Okay," Cloud shrugs. "See you later." Starts to pull his pants back on.

"Wait," Leon says.


Cloud's lusts are mercurial, as quick and fierce as a summer storm, and over as quickly as they come. Leon's smoulder, slow to catch but once caught burning hot and long.

Leon nods.

"I thought you were busy?" Cloud takes hold of Leon's hand, presses it against him.

"I was." Leon flexes his fingers, stroking the soft skin below Cloud's navel. "Now I'm busy with something else."

"Mmm," Cloud says, shivering as Leon kisses him again, long and slow and lingering. "Woke the sleeping lion, huh?"

"Squa-aaallll!" Faint and away down the corridors, Yuffie, calling. "Squaalll-yyy!"

Cloud feels Leon tense and pull away slightly.

"It's okay," he says, "she's only just out of the Postern by the sounds of it. There's time."

"Time for what?" Leon manages a small smile; kisses Cloud again; feels him getting hard, pants still rucked around his knees. Hears the door handle start to turn.

"Shit!" Cloud hisses, and dives for the chair. "Quick!"

Leon glances around the room. The door is starting to open. No time to get into the secret passage. Only one thing for it.

"Leon? Leon are you there?" Tifa's voice. Yuffie, still calling, still away in the distance. "Oh. Cloud."

Leon is on his hands and knees beneath the desk. Cloud is sitting on the edge of Ansem's throne with his pants half-way down his thighs and his erection pressing against the underside of the desk. Above him and behind him he can hear Tifa's questions; Cloud's curt responses. Leon reaches up and takes hold of Clouds erection, pulls it down away from the desk an inch or two, lets go.

Cloud makes a small strangled noise and Tifa stops saying whatever it was she had been saying. "Cloud?" she says, and Leon can hear the uncertainty creeping into her voice. "Are you alright?"

"I'm fine," Cloud mutters. "I'm just a bit stiff is all."

"Oh, you poor thing! Has Leon been working you too hard?" Certain members of the Restoration Committee had the impression that a full day's work was too much to expect from anyone.

Under the desk, Leon inches Cloud's pants across his thighs, over his knees, down around his ankles; drops his head and runs his tongue slowly over the rucked skin of Cloud's balls.

"No," Cloud gasps, "don't... don't think... that. He hasn't anything I... can't handle."

"You boys," Tifa laughs, but the laugh sounds forced, as if she's half certain something is going on at her expense. "You're so competitive. Always trying to out-do each other."

"It's not much of a fight," Cloud says, before he can stop himself.

Under the desk, Leon takes Cloud's balls in his mouth, sucks on them gently, and then harder, rolling them under his tongue.

"Cloud?" Leon can hear the suspicion in her voice. "Are you sure you're alright? You’re shaking."

"I'm f... I'm fine," Cloud stammers. Leon has let Cloud's balls flop out of his mouth and taken hold of his dick in one hand. He squeezes it, hard, and starts to slide his hand up and down the shaft, slowly.

Leon hears Cloud's breath hiss out between his teeth, cutting off as he drags his tongue along the underside, long and slow until he meets his own descending hand and drops back down to push around again at Cloud's balls.

"Are you sure? Maybe you should get Merlin to give you a potion. You look flushed."

Leon takes Cloud's dick in both hands, opens his mouth wide and lowers his face, sliding his wet tongue over the exposed glans. Cloud's fists come down on the table with a thud and one knee starts to knock against Leon's shoulder. Leon starts to move his head backwards and forwards, taking Cloud's dick into his mouth until it bumps against the narrow constriction of his throat. Leon pulls back slowly, sucking hard at him, tongue rasping over the glans again.

"I... can't..." Cloud says, "stop..."

"Stop what?"

"Looking...." Cloud gasps.

"Oh, Cloud! Not that again!" Tifa sounds genuinely concerned. "You're making yourself ill over this obsession with Sephiroth. Look at you! You're flushed, you're shaking, you can barely speak, you're clearly in some kind of pain. And as for Leon, making you wait for him here, he should know better! Where is he, anyway?"

Under the desk, Leon has Cloud's twitching dick in his hands, tip rubbing against his face as it jumps and jerks as Cloud tries not to come.

"Oh, you know L... Leon," he hears Cloud moan. "He'll have his hands full taking c... care of someone somewhere."

"True," Tifa nods. "He is a kind man. Well, tell him I was looking for him will you, if you see him."

Leon give two fast tugs at Cloud's dick, takes it into his throat as Cloud starts to orgasm, buries his nose against Cloud's belly, pushing into him as he comes, back off him to catch the last of it on his tongue.

"Ah... I... huh.. ah.. will," Cloud splutters through gritted teeth. "And if you see him first, tell him I'm going to kill him."

"Oh, you boys, you do love to fight," Tifa says, leaving the study.
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Like his life, Axel’s dying wish is about Roxas; is to protect Roxas. It’s so stupid that he can’t help grinning. All he wants to do is to keep him safe, this boy who is now quite literally killing him. There’s a bruise blooming on Roxas’ forearm where the chakram had glanced off, and Axel fights the urge to roll back his sleeves and delve under the darkening skin; to feel the bones grind; to fix it.

He wants more than anything to tell him, now, before it’s too late. Now, at the last, when it can’t possibly matter anymore, to tell him the truth even though it might hurt him. To tell him that this is all there is, that there is nothing after this, that there is no more. To tell him, finally, how much it had hurt that Roxas had never been able to take what he had wanted to give him. But when it comes to Roxas he’s a coward, and has always been a coward, and he can’t do it, so he just says “let’s meet again in the next life” and hates himself.

He watches Roxas; can’t take his eyes off him. Sad, he thinks, sad sad sad, always so sad. I always wanted to make you laugh; to help it to stop; to make you proud. To scream at you and cut you to into ribbons and break you into pieces, just so I could make you whole again and hope again.

He wants to tell Roxas how unfair it is, that they had to suffer for so long; suffer something that could never be; that was impossible not because of who they were, but because of what they were. He wants to tell Roxas that he’s glad that it’s finally over, that there can be no more pain, no more longing, no more helpless, hopeless desire. But Roxas says “I’ll be waiting” and he can’t do it.

He wants to tell him how much he’d longed to make him stay; how much he’d wanted to convince him that he’d be loved; was loved, even once they were torn apart. Now, finally, at the very end, he wants Roxas to understand how he’d always wondered which one of them would be the one to break the other’s heart. But he feels the emptiness in his chest, and can’t let it end on a lie.

“Silly,” he says…

[and waits for the wind to come and blow the ash away]

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What do you suppose would happen if I stepped off?

Roxas looks up from the little pile of dirt he’s worked out of the crack between the stones of the ledge with the broken bit of the old popsicle stick he’d picked up. Axel is standing with his bare toes curled over the edge, hanging on to the pillars by the clockface with one hand, leaning out into the void.

I suppose you’d die.

You think so?

Roxas peers over the edge. Far below them, a couple of figures are crossing the square, heading for Station Heights. He closes his eyes, imagining himself Axel, falling forwards into the empty air, feeling the wind tugging at his hair, laughing at the pavement rushing up to meet him. Once, on some stupid mission to some world with too much colour and not enough point, Axel had caught a nasty gash from some clawed thing, a jagged rip across his forearm. Roxas remembers the black blood soaking into Axel’s coat, the harsh metallic tang of it, the way it stuck to his fingers. That night, when he’d fished the magazines out from under his mattress, it was Axel he imagined, torn and bleeding, his life ebbing slowly out, eyes glazing, breath fading.

Roxas swallows heavily, slick-palmed and hard at the thought of Axel smeared across the flagstones.


Could I, though?

Axel is still tilted out from the tower, only just holding on. Roxas reaches up and takes a hold of his coat.

What do you mean?

I mean, aren’t I already dead?

We’re not dead.

We’re not? What are we then?

Axel sits down, suddenly, and grabs Roxas’ hand, opens his coat, presses the fingers against his chest. Saying something about hearts, only Roxas isn’t listening.


Roxas is a creature of habit. Roxas follows patterns. Roxas makes meaning for himself, imposes order on the empty days by letting action become routine. He might not know who he is or why he is, but at any given moment he knows what he is doing, and what he is going to be doing next. The days are like a loop of tape, playing over and again, and each one ends in the same way, with Roxas fishing the magazines out from under his mattress and thinking about Axel, torn and bleeding. Axel takes his hand and places it against his chest, says something about hearts, and Roxas can feel the thing under Axel’s ribs kicking like a horse waiting to be broken. And when Axel kisses him his breath is hot in Roxas’ mouth and his fingers burn Roxas’ skin and when Axel forces him down against the bedclothes and takes him in his mouth all the stars that have been going out come blazing back.


And now his hand is flat against Axel’s chest, and under the cold skin there is nothing.

See? Axel is saying. Dead.

But Roxas shakes his head. I don’t believe you.

What? Tell me what you remember, then. Tell me about the games you used to play when you were a kid. Tell me where you grew up. Tell me about your first kiss.

Roxas looks away from his right hand, pressed against the moonwhite skin stretched over Axel’s left pectoral muscle. My first kiss?

Axel nods. Sure. No-one forgets that, right?

Roxas frowns, and shakes his head.

See? Axel says again. You can’t. You can’t remember anything before you woke up outside the mansion feeling like you’d been drinking rubbing alcohol.

Shut up.

It doesn’t matter which way you slice it, Rox. We’re a fucking cosmic joke.

Shut up!


Roxas follows patterns, but later that night, tatty ink-stained magazine pages spread across his tilted knees, the Axel he imagines isn’t beautiful and dying.

Before Castle Oblivion, Axel had been as constant as the rain. In Twilight Town, with the perpetual evening sun swollen on the horizon, Roxas’ shadow streamed away behind him, a great long jagged thing, and at first he had thought that Axel might be it come to life. At first, Axel had been everywhere, lounging insouciantly in the doorway of his room; grinning as they taught him how to fight; yawning ostentatiously behind his hand while Xemnas pontificated about the importance of their mission, tipping winks at Roxas that everyone could see. At first, Roxas had thought Axel was a jerk. But it had become more and more difficult to pay attention to the endless weapon practice and mission training and explanation after interminable explanation of heartless and nobodies and corridors of darkness and kingdom hearts, when his head was full of Axel’s hands and Axel’s fingers and the long pale curve of his neck.One day, Roxas had come back from the commissary to find Axel slouched in the doorway of his room, nervously summoning and dismissing his chakrams.

I’m not going to be around for a few days.


Yeah. A shrug. Some mission. See you later.

Axel’s eyes. Wine-dark. Afraid.

After Castle Oblivion, everything changed.


The Axel that comes back from Castle Oblivion is a different person, and the whole world seems to have changed with him. No-one will tell Roxas what has happened, but it’s pretty obvious that there aren’t thirteen of them any more. The surviving members skirt around him, tight-lipped and silent, and when he corners Axel in Fragment Crossing, demands to know what’s going on, Axel just looks at him.


Roxas’ fists are balled tight in his pockets, the desperation of not-knowing tense in every fibre of him.

Axel still isn’t speaking, and it’s only because it never stops raining in The World That Never Was that it takes Roxas so long to work out why.


Roxas doesn’t know that Axel is back from Castle Oblivion until he stumbles across him in an alley in the Brink Of Despair, and he doesn’t know that he is gone again until Saïx comes in to the Garden of Darkness and Light to ask where VIII is. Roxas searches from Nothing’s Call to the Altar of Naught, and everywhere he looks Axel isn’t.

Roxas is a creature of habit. Roxas follows patterns. Driven through the Worlds by the disordering power of desire.

In Agrabah he watches the dark-eyed, lush-lipped youths smoking hashish in the bath houses, laughing at the men not rich enough to buy a half-hour of their time or beautiful enough to share it. Smiling alluring smiles at the more fortunate. At Roxas. But there is no sign of Axel, and Roxas takes one step backward into the portal, hating himself.

In Atlantica, the beach is littered with used condoms, the air rank with the acrid tang of rotting sea creatures, dead fires kicked apart on the sands. Although any or all of it could be his doing, Axel isn’t there, and Roxas calls up the corridor of darkness, returns to his room in the Castle That Never Was, curls up under the covers.

For a moment, Roxas thinks he sees Axel in Beast’s Castle, but it is only a rose in vase on a window sill.

In the Coliseum he hesitates in the mouth of the portal for a while, watching the narrow waists and rolling shoulders of the naked youths wrestling in the sand, scrabbling for hand holds on each other’s slick backs. But neither the hands nor backs are Axel’s.

A man speaks softly in a savage tongue, and then the sound is no longer speech. Roxas steps away from the portal, parts the Jungle curtain, sees Tarzan kneeling, gripping the flanks of the kneeling girl as he comes into her from behind, his head thrown back in wild exultation as he thrusts his loins. Roxas watches the moonlight dancing across the muscles of his back and arms, roiling like logs in a millrace, and imagines it is his own contorted face pressed into the rotten jungle floor, Axel who is kneeling behind him. But it isn’t, and it isn’t, and once he has splattered his semen across the undergrowth he staggers away, summons a portal, falls into it.

Destiny Islands are haunted by ghost children racing along the sands and he cannot stay. Axel would never be there anyway.

Nor in Disney Castle. It almost isn’t worth looking, but Roxas is a creature of habit. Roxas follows patterns. No.

In Halloween Town Dr Finkelstein lies drugged in his chair, Jack and Sally a mad tangle of limbs contorting on the table. All the fires in the laboratory are out. No fire in the world anywhere.

In Hollow Bastion, Leon sees him step from the portal, lowers the gunblade, frowning at the boy silhouetted against the portal’s slicker. Sora? Roxas runs; doesn’t know why.

Eventually, he finds him in an opium den in the Land of Dragons, filthy and grinning, emaciated, mumbling nonsense as Roxas tries to rouse him.


Once, if my memory serves me well, my life was a banquet where every heart revealed itself, where every wine flowed. One evening I took Beauty in my arms, Axel sits up, naked, the sole of one foot black with grime, dirty sheet tented over his hard-on, and seizes Roxas by the shoulder – and I thought him bitter – and I insulted him!

Axel! Roxas pulls away, momentarily terrified of the glassy-eyed madman; reaches for him again as he remembers who it is. What the fuck happened to you? A lump hardening in his throat.

I steeled myself against justice. I fled. O witches, O misery, O hate, my treasure was left in your care! I have withered within me all human hope. With the silent leap of a sullen beast, I have downed and strangled every joy.

Axel! What are you talking about? Axel? It’s me, Roxas! Where have you been? The breath he doesn’t even have knocked out of him.

I have called for executioners; I want to perish chewing on their gun butts. I have called for plagues, to suffocate in sand and blood. Unhappiness has been my god. I have lain down in the mud, and dried myself off in the crime-infested air. I have played the fool to the point of madness.

Axel! Roxas cradles the poor mad face in his hands, squeezing his eyes shut as the tears well up onto his cheeks. I love you, you know he murmurs.

Now recently, when I found myself ready to croak! I thought to seek the key to the banquet of old, where I might find an appetite again
, Axel says, and plants a cracked dry kiss on Roxas’ lips, the taste of wormwood filling his mouth.


I’m beginning to wish I hadn’t killed him.

Roxas glances away from the sunset he no longer sees. Towards the man he thinks no longer notices him. Wrapped up in silence. The part of him that does the talking somewhere else. Dreaming.


That I hadn’t killed him.

Roxas watches Axel shrug. Notices the way the folds of the hood slide across the hump of his shoulder. The way that his hands that were never still have become still. He can remember the feeling that these things used to give him. The hot, urgent rush of whatever-the-hell it was that pushed him up out of his chair and made him want to run around and punch things. To argue with Axel about stupid little things that they actually agreed on, just so Axel would get angry and they could spend five minutes yelling at each other and then another five in white silence, fists and lips clenched, wide eyed and breathless.


Axel – who never answers questions; who never uses three words when three thousand will do – glances up from where he has been staring at the cracks in the balustrade.


You killed Vexen?

Axel nods. I wish I hadn’t. Vexen was an interesting man. Insane, but interesting.

Roxas bites his lip, hopes that his dilating pupils don’t give him away, ducks his head.

You know that stuff you said? About appetites and stuff?

Axel glances up from his lap, nods.

What was that?



She left me a book. Before S… before she died, she left me a book.

I thought you hated her?

I did.

I don’t understand.

I know.

You kissed me.

I did?

Roxas nods, watches Axel’s eyes narrow.


Reads the unspoken question in the tilt of his head, the arch of his eyebrow, the first flicker of interest he’s seen since before Castle Oblivion.

… want you to do it again.


In Agrabah, they smoke hashish in the bathhouse until Roxas feels as though he has turned to water, only surface tension holding him to a form, ready to scatter in a spray of a million droplets. He already knows that Axel has no heart, and when their tongues trail apart it isn’t the need to breathe that has him gasping. And Axel’s fingers on his skin don’t burn, but he feels the press of them left behind wherever they alight, until he feels like he is being fondled by a thousand fingers all reaching for him at once. No hearts, and no breath, but something is making the pulse surge in his ears, and the passion still feels like passion, the lust like lust, and when Axel finally forces him down against the sofa and takes him in his mouth it feels real enough. Axel sucks him until the clamour of his incoherent shouts bring the dark-haired lush-lipped boys running to praise the legendary lovers, eyes flashing as they call out in praise of the one god and his prophet.

The two of them are like cobwebs spread across the hedgerows on an autumn morning. Shimmering, transient, beautiful. About to break.


Roxas feels his hot breath on the back of his neck, his nostrils filled with the stink of sweat. Axel’s burning skin is pressed against the length of him, and he can feel him taut and trembling, like an overwound watch spring about to break.

“Oh, fuck…” he groans, “oh, fuck, fuck, fuck…” and he screws his eyes shut, pretending that this was what he had wanted; that this was what he had always wanted.


I answered my own question didn’t I?

They had been sitting on the Coliseum steps, Roxas staring at the dark stains in the scuffed sand, blood and sweat, imagining. Trying to avoid seeing the blank dead look in Axel’s eyes.

I’m not dead. I can’t be dead. If we’re dead I couldn’t have killed him.

Roxas, lost in his imaginings of straining flesh, hardly hears him.

I can’t make it make sense. I thought we were in hell. It feels like a punishment, being able to remember what feeling feels like, wanting to feel, not knowing if you’re feeling or just remembering how you once might have felt. But if we’re not dead it can’t be hell. Unless it’s a little death. Maybe this is purgatory. Maybe this is our chance to choose. Maybe if we…

And just because he was horny, and only because he wanted Alex to shut the fuck up and be quiet, he had grabbed the back of his head and kissed him savagely. And just because this time he didn’t want him to be imaginary and melt away into soiled sheets, he bit his bottom lip, hard, and stuck his hands under his coat, feeling the little muscles of his midriff tense as he flinched under his fingers.


“Oh fuck…”

Roxas can feel him like electricity; like a storm about to break. He can feel the scalding tears wetting his shoulders and he doesn’t care. He doesn’t care that this isn’t how he has imagined it; that this isn’t how it was supposed to be. He feels like a sheet of paper laid across embers, twisted and charred and about to burst into flames at any second. And he doesn’t care. That all this is just another way of forgetting.

Or not forgetting.

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Merlin snapped the book shut, eyebrows bristling with irritation. His one rule – his only rule – that he not be disturbed while he was reading. That wasn’t too much to ask, surely?

On the other side of the study door something teetered, toppled, shattered, shards skittering across the flagged floor. The door shook as something heavy hit it. Beyond it, voices; low, surly, clipped.

Muttering under his breath, Merlin lay the book aside and clambered to his feet. He was almost sure what he would see – Leon, arms folded across chest, staring in feigned disinterest at something in the middle distance; Cloud, fist clenched at his sides glaring at the ground. The old wizard gestured wearily and the door banged open.

“I never said I’d join your stupid gang!” Cloud was by the window, eyes fixed on the street outside.

“I never asked you to!” Leon on his hands and knees, picking up the pieces of the retort flask that glistened wetly among the dark liquid splashed over the stones.

“Don’t touch that!” Merlin snapped.

Both men turned towards him.

“All I ask… all I ask is that I be left alone to work! Is that too much? Well?”

The wizard peered over the tops of his glasses at the two young men.

“But he…” Leon started to protest.

“I don’t want to hear it!” Merlin snapped.

“I didn’t…” Cloud muttered.

Merlin’s bristling eyebrows silenced him.

“Well. Neither of you have anything to say for yourselves? Hmmm?” Merlin raised a warning finger and both Cloud and Leon closed their mouths, shooting each other angry glances. “That’s better. Now. If you’re quite sure you don’t mind, I have work to do.” The old man turned back towards his study door, poking at the wet stain spreading across the floor. “Neither of you got any of this on you, did you? Well?”

Leon shook his head, wiping furtively at the long scratch snaking along his forearm where the flying glass had cut him. Cloud made a little gesture of denial, licking his lips.

“Good! Good! I was thinking of trying it out on some Shadows once I’d made a few more adjustments. No telling what it would do to them if I tried it now!” Merlin chuckled.

“What is it?” Leon asked, frowning.

“Eh? Eh? Oh, just a new spell I’ve been working on. Empathga, I call it. I thought if enemies could be made to understand who they were fighting against, they might lose the will to do it. Clever, eh?” Merlin paused, waiting for the two men to be impressed. “Yes. Well. Remind me to try it on you two when it’s finished. Now get out and leave me to work.” The study door slammed to behind him.

Leon turned to Cloud. “You didn’t…..?”

“Nah. You?”

“No. Well, I’ve got a town to rebuild. Have fun doing whatever it is you’re so busy doing.”


When Cloud woke up the following morning he noticed two things straight away. One was the scratch on his arm, itching and inflamed. The other was his hard-on. Pushing the covers away, Cloud took his dick in his hand, smiling a little at the feel of it. Swinging his legs over the edge of the bed he stopped, frowning.

“What the?” he muttered, looking at the dark pubic hair curling at his groin. “What the fuck?” at the voice coming out of his mouth.

He looked again at the dick in his hand, thick, long, raddled with veins, at the hand gripping it, the chewed down nails and the skin calloused by hard labour. Cloud didn’t chew his nails. Cloud didn’t have that much dick.

“Fuck,” he said again. Then “shit!” letting go of what he was holding, wiping his hand on the sheets. “Fuck fuck fuck fuck.”

He lifted a hand to his hair – hanging into his eyes, much too long in the back – and pushed it from his face, rubbing at his eyes and cheeks in an effort to wake up, feeling the scar that shouldn’t be there, rubbing harder until he remembered what he had just been doing with that hand.

“I’m dreaming,” he said, trying not to hear Leon’s voice. “I’m dreaming is all. Just some stupid nightmare.”

He clambered to his feet and stood for a moment, trying to get used to feel of everything being different, of his feet feeling bigger against the floor, of everything being just that little bit further away.

“This is fucking weird,” he said, opening the door to the bathroom.

Leon was looking at him out of the mirror above the basin, hair tangled from sleep, stark naked, dick stiff. Cloud raised his hand and Leon did too. Cloud put the hand on his head and Leon did too. Cloud turned away from the mirror, peering back over his shoulder to see Leon doing the same.

Cloud turned back to the mirror, leaned towards it.

“What the hell?,” he breathed, watching Leon’s lips move behind the fog of breath on the glass. His balls were itching, and he scratched at them absent-mindedly with his thumb. Leon’s dick swung in the mirror.

Cloud looked at it, mouth part open, glanced up at Leon, naked and tousled, looking back out at him. He had to admit that Leon was one fine looking man, and that rebuilding a town kept him in shape, no matter how stupid it was. The heavy muscles of his chest and shoulders rolled as Cloud shifted, the vault of his ribs expanding and falling as Cloud breathed.

Cloud took his dick in his hand, watched the long muscles in Leon’s forearm jump as he ran his fist along the shaft, breath hissing out between his clenched teeth as he peeled the skin back. He could feel Leon’s heart hammering, the pulse quickening in his neck. Cloud rested his hands on the wall, one either side of the mirror.

“If this isn’t a dream then you’re one fucking lucky son of a bitch,” Cloud muttered, and took hold of it again, closing his eyes, his other hand cupped around his balls.


“I don’t think it’s done quite what he expected, do you? And just what are you doing with that?”

Cloud opened his eyes. In the mirror, behind the curve of Leon’s shoulder, he saw Cloud standing in the bathroom doorway, wearing Leon’s jacket. He turned around.

“You didn’t come here dressed like that?”

“Dressed like what?”

“In your jacket!”

“What the fuck are you talking about? Of course in my jacket!”

“Did anyone see you?”

“I don’t know. Why?”

“What would you think if you saw me walking around in your jacket?”

“Oh. Oh, right. Well, I guess you better hope no one saw then.”

“This isn’t a dream, is it?”

Leon raised an eyebrow.

“A dream? Exactly how often do you dream about masturbating me? Although,” he made a vulgar motion at his crotch, “I can see why you would.” He took a step back. “Is that how I look? Weird. I’m used to being the other way around.”

“You’re not kidding,” Cloud nodded, looking at his hair spiked in all the wrong directions. “Merlin?”

“I guess.” Leon frowned, looking at Cloud’s arm. “That’s a nasty cut I’ve got there. Want to put something on that before it gets infected?”

“Sure, sure.” Cloud turned to the cabinet, looking for cream. “So now what?”

“I’ve got a couple of ideas.” Leon shrugged his jacket off Cloud’s shoulders. “You look like you were in the middle of something there.”

Cloud felt Leon’s cheeks flush. “Shit. Man, I just…”

“Don’t worry. It’s not like you were sticking pins in it. Just as long as I get it back in one piece.” Leon dropped to Cloud’s knees. “Anyway, I’ve always wondered how this would feel.”

He took hold of Cloud by his dick, turned him around.

“Oh shit!” Cloud hissed, as Leon ran Cloud’s tongue across the engorged head of his dick. “Oh, fuck, man, that’s my… ah… f…fuck…. that’s my mouth.”

Leon pulled back. “Yeah. So? Want me to stop?” Forwards again.

Cloud could only make inarticulate noises until Leon came up for breath. “Man, how do you know how to do that?”

“You’ve never imagined the perfect blow job? I guess I just know what I like,” Leon grinned. “Also, you have a very… uh… versatile tongue.” Forwards again.

“Don’t come in my mouth,” Cloud whispered, a little later.

“Try and stop me,” Leon mumbled, mouth full.

Cloud did, but like Leon said, he did have a very versatile tongue.


“How long do you think we’ve got ’til this wears off?”

“No idea,” Leon turned away from the basin, drying Cloud’s chin. “Man I should get you to suck me off more often, you were like a hose there.”

“About that,” Cloud glanced at the floor, still feeling the ache in Leon’s balls.

“Yeah. That is kind of awkward.” Leon nodded. “But we can worry about that later, right?”

“Sure.” Cloud said uncertainly. “So…”


“I was wondering. That is, I sort of wanted you to… Fuck it, I don’t even know who’s who anymore!”

“Maybe just tell me what it is?”

Cloud reddened again. “I want you to fuck me.”

Leon frowned. “Let me make sure I’ve got this straight. Are you saying that you – Cloud who looks like Leon – want me – Leon who looks like Cloud – to fuck you ? Or are you saying that you want the one of us who looks like me – looks like Leon – to fuck the one of us who looks like you – like Cloud?”

“What I’m saying is that I want you to fuck me. I don’t know which way ’round that is.”

“Well then,” Leon grinned. “We’d just better do it both ways, to be sure.”


When Cloud woke up the following morning he noticed two things straight away. One was the scratch on Leon’s arm, yesterdays redness faded to a dull line. The other was his hard-on. Pushing the covers away, Cloud took Leon’s dick in his hand, smiling a little at the feel of it. Leon stirred sleepily, wrapped his fingers around Cloud’s.

“Morning,” he said.