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A Lil' Head Injury

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Cloud loved waking up in Angeal’s bed. Truthfully, he loved mornings when he could wake up beside any of his boyfriends, but there was just something about the lazy moments spent in Angeal’s arms that always filled Cloud with contentment. Angeal had the largest build of the five with the broadest shoulders and most well-muscled arms. Nothing made Cloud feel safer than being wrapped up and pulled tight against Angeal’s chest.

The man smelled amazing, even after a long night of sleeping. People enthused about the numerous scents that made up Sephiroth’s shampoo, but Cloud would trade a dozen bottles of it for a bar of Angeal’s soap any day of the week. It always made him think of the woods outside of Junon, just after the leaves started to change color with a hint of the herbs that Angeal so enjoyed cooking with.

Cloud relaxed back into Angeal’s embrace and breathed deep, enjoying the earthy smell of his soap mixed with something undefinable that was just Angeal. Unlike so many things, it only improved with his Third Class enhancements and was not overwhelming to his senses in the least.

Angeal made a pleased, sleepy noise in the back of his throat and pulled Cloud more tightly against him. Despite his size and occasionally stern demeanor, Angeal was a cuddler. Zack’s hugs might be the most enthusiastic, but Angeal’s were the warmest. Angeal nuzzled against Cloud, making him chuckle when the stubble on Angeal’s face rubbed against his bare shoulder. Cloud could feel Angeal smile against his skin as he began pressing kisses along his shoulder and neck. That was another great thing about waking up beside Angeal… the man was insatiable in the morning.

“The alarm is going to go off any second.” Cloud complained, even as he tilted his head to give Angeal better access to the sensitive skin of his throat, “Lemme turn it off first.”

“It’s not going to bother me.” Angeal teased, his hand starting to roam over the skin of Cloud’s hip, “You’re the one who challenged Zack to make the most obnoxious sound he could think of so you could use it as your alarm tone. It's not exactly the most pleasant way to wake up, you know.”

“It works every time.” Cloud said, hips shifting upward as Angeal’s fingers traced along the top of the waistband of his sleep pants, “I haven’t overslept since I changed it… but do you really want to hear it right now?”

Angeal’s hand slipped his hand past the top of Cloud’s pants to wrap around his erection. Cloud moaned as Angeal stroked him lazily, “You forget how long I’ve known Zack. I learned to tune his annoying noises out ages ago. Once I’m awake I can ignore it, but I’m tired of it jarring me out of my sleep. Think of this as a persuasive argument for why you should change it.”

“You could have just asked.” Cloud said a little breathlessly as he pressed back against Angeal’s hardness.

Angeal groaned in Cloud’s ear, “I like this way better.”

Cloud turned his head to capture Angeal’s lips in a kiss, hoping that the distraction would be sufficient so he could grab his phone and turn it off when the alarm did go off. Angeal was twisted enough to keep playing with him while Zack’s voice made irritating noises in the background. Cloud had just started pressing messy, playful kisses along Angeal’s jaw when Zack’s screeching filled the air. He reached out slowly toward the materia safe that served as Angeal’s bedside table.

Angeal’s hand pulled back from Cloud’s pants and caught his wrist. He moved over Cloud, pinning him against the bed, “Nuh-uh. You’re going to have to try harder than that, Soldier.”

Cloud rolled his hips up against Angeal’s half as a distraction and half in an attempt to wiggle out of the larger man’s grip. Angeal might have the strength of a First, but Cloud could be downright slippery when he wanted to be. They rolled around, Angeal tightening his grip on one part of Cloud while another slipped away. They laughed and teased, all the while Zack’s voice made undefinable noises through the speaker of Cloud’s phone.

Finally, Cloud got the upper hand as Angeal abandoned the wrestling match to kiss a path down the blonde’s chest. As he fumbled with the ties holding Cloud’s sleep pants up around his hips, Cloud bent backwards eagerly to scoop up the phone. He wanted to be able to turn his full attention to Angeal and his wicked mouth. Angeal had been unprepared for the sudden shift in weight and his slack grip could not tighten fast enough to save his lover from tumbling head first off the bed.

While Third Class enhancements had thickened his skull considerably, there was little Cloud could do to protect his head from slamming into the metal of the safe. It also did not keep him from blacking out immediately after.

Cloud hated waking up to an alarm. He reached out blindly and grabbed his phone to shut it off. He had no idea what his alarm was, but it was the most obnoxious sound in the world. He opened his eyes slowly, scowling at the brightness of the light and the sharp pain in his head. He did not remember drinking, but the sluggishness he felt and the headache that was brewing behind his eyes pointed to a night of serious intoxication.

When his vision finally cleared, he realized a few things all at once. He was sprawled in a graceless heap on an unfamiliar floor. He did not recognize the furniture or the color of the walls. He had no recollection of what had happened or how he had gotten there. He sure as hell didn’t recognize the sleep-tousled brunette smiling at him from over the edge of the bed. The man was attractive and had serious bedroom eyes, but he definitely was not Cloud’s boyfriend.

“You alright, Cloud?”

The guy knew his name. That was a bad sign. Panic rising, Cloud leapt up and backed away from the bed, “I… uh…”

His companion’s heavy eyebrows drew together in a frown, “I heard you bang into something… did you hit your head?”

“Yeah. I hit my head.” Cloud agreed, reaching down and scooping a shirt up off the ground. He held it in front of him like a shield, “I should go get that checked out.”

The man chuckled, “You know I have potions and restore materia. Let me take care of you.”

That sounded far too intimate. Cloud’s brain scrabbled for a good excuse and came up empty. He backed quickly toward the door, “That’s alright. I’m just going to go… uh… head back home and get myself fixed up. So, um, bye.”

Cloud ignored the bewildered look on the stranger’s face and bolted down the hallway. The layout was familiar, even if the décor was all wrong. Cloud yanked the shirt over his head and hurried out the front door. He was in the hallway before he realized how long and baggy the shirt was. Definitely not his.

A gold nameplate with Sephiroth’s name on it stared him in the face. This guy was his boyfriend’s neighbor? Cloud quickly turned away from both doors and headed for the stairs. He knew he was going to have to tell Sephiroth what happened, but it definitely was not going to happen at a stupidly early hour of the morning while he wore the other guy’s shirt.

Calling himself every kind of idiot, Cloud rushed down the stairs towards his apartment. He had cheated on Sephiroth with some random First Class. He had no justification for it. His memories were muddled, nothing making any kind of sense, but it was obvious what had happened. He decided he was going to go home and clean himself up. Once he was presentable again, he was going to have to have it out with Sephiroth and pray the man did not kill him.

He crept into the apartment he shared with his Third-Class roommate. Tucker was already awake and cooking breakfast in the kitchen. He shot Cloud a look of surprise, “Cloud? What are you doing here? Did you and your- uh- you know… you guys fighting or something?”

Shortly after his promotion to Third, Cloud had received his first serious mission requiring weeks away from Midgar. After briefing Cloud, Sephiroth had insisted on walking with him to his apartment to help him pack. Tucker had walked in to find Sephiroth working the buckles of Cloud’s Soldier belt while Cloud shoved his tongue down the General’s throat. It wasn’t exactly how Cloud had planned to let his new roommate know he was in a relationship, but it was certainly an effective visual.

Tucker had been surprisingly relaxed about the whole thing. He later admitted to Cloud that he was not a complete idiot and that rooming with the General’s significant other was sure to have perks. Despite that, he still could not refer to Sephiroth as Cloud’s boyfriend. He claimed it was too mundane a word to describe one of the leaders of Soldier.

Cloud sighed and scratched the back of his neck, “No… but I think we’re about to.”

“Wanna… talk about it?” Tucker nodded to the food he was cooking, “Maybe have some breakfast?”

“No thanks. I’m going to get cleaned up and get it over with.” He smiled wryly, “Hopefully your next roommate is easier to deal with. Just make sure my stuff gets back to Ma in Nibelheim, would you?”

Tucker whistled, “That bad, huh?”

“That bad.” Cloud agreed, “If I survive, I’ll tell you about it later.”

Cloud showered quickly, barely able to stand looking at himself. The skin of his chest was covered in love bites and there were finger shaped bruises on his hip. The mako in his body was already starting to heal the marks, but it was evidence enough that he had done more than sleep in the strange man’s bed the night before.

He pulled clothes on quickly, disgusted with himself. There was no excuse for what he had done. He left the apartment without talking to Tucker again, ready for this to be over with.

The elevator ride back up to Sephiroth’s floor seemed to take forever. He paused outside of Sephiroth’s apartment, unsure if he should knock or just walk in as he usually did. Knowing that if he waited much longer, Sephiroth would hear him and come to the door anyway, he pushed the door open and stepped inside. If they were going to fight, he would prefer the limited privacy the apartment would give them.

“Cloud.” Sephiroth unfolded himself from the couch, his whole body sagging with relief, “There you are.”

Guilt made Cloud’s stomach turn. Sephiroth had obviously been worried about him when he did not make it home the night before. When it was clear that the man was coming to embrace him, Cloud sidestepped him and moved further into the apartment. He wrapped his arms around himself and did his best to brace for what was coming.

“Look. We need to talk.” Cloud said, forcing himself to turn and face Sephiroth. The man’s face was slack with surprise, but he waited for Cloud’s next words, “Something happened last night. I’m not sure how it happened but I… that is, this morning I was…”

His mouth snapped shut as he tried to find the right words to break it to Sephiroth. Tears burned in his eyes and he blinked them back before they could fall. He loved Sephiroth so much. He had no idea why he would sleep with anybody else. It didn’t make sense!

Before he could say anything, the brunette from that morning poked his head out of the kitchen. He was wearing a black apron and holding a spatula, obviously cooking breakfast for the two of them.

“What are you doing here?” Cloud blurted out, feeling the same panic from that morning.

Sephiroth gave Cloud an odd look, “Angeal’s here for breakfast. We had planned to eat together this morning, since Zack and Genesis won’t be back from their missions for a few hours. Do you not remember?”

“I told you something was wrong, Seph.” Angeal said, setting the spatula aside and moving into the living room, “We were having a good time this morning until he took that tumble off the bed. I think he hit his head on my safe, but he was gone so fast that I couldn’t check.”

Sephiroth made a noise of agreement in his throat and took Cloud’s arm, towing him to the couch, “Sit.”

His tone left no room for argument, so Cloud sat. Sephiroth’s fingers were gently combing through his hair before their conversation caught up with him, “Wait. He told you I was… that we were… that I woke up with him this morning?”

“Since when are you shy about sleeping with Angeal?” Sephiroth asked with a chuckle as he worked his fingers over Cloud’s head, “I’m more worried that you ran out on him the way you did. Usually that is your favorite way to begin your days off.”

Cloud was glad he was sitting. Relief would have made him weak kneed. Sephiroth knew he had spent the night with another man and was unconcerned by it. He even approved of it. That made less sense than anything else, but he was so glad that he could not bring himself to care, “So I didn’t cheat on you?“

“Cheat on me?” Sephiroth asked, fingers jerking in shock, “What are you-“

His words broke off when Cloud let out a pained hiss. Sephiroth’s fingers pulled his hand back in surprise before smoothing lightly over the lump on his head, “He definitely struck his head on something.”

Suddenly Angeal was before him, eyes carefully studying his face, “What do you remember from this morning?”

Cloud shifted back unconsciously seeking Sephiroth for reassurance. Sephiroth’s hands moved from probing the lump on his head to stroking over his hair, “I uh… I woke up on the floor when my alarm went off.”

Angeal’s brows shot up in surprise. He looked over Cloud’s head towards Sephiroth, “We’d been up for almost ten minutes before he fell.”

“What about the night before?” Sephiroth asked, leaning around Cloud’s shoulder to see his face.

Cloud wracked his brain, but little came to mind, “I think we had dinner? I had a mission before that in Sector Four… with Reno and Rude of the Turks?”

It was more of a question than a statement. Realizing how patchy his thoughts were, concern started to churn in his stomach. The look that Angeal and Sephiroth exchanged did little to comfort him. He had heard of head injuries causing memory loss before, but usually that was after some kind of major accident.

Angeal turned back to him again, expression wary and his shoulder’s a little hunched, “Cloud… who am I?”

“I… uh… Angeal?” Cloud said weakly, not wanting to admit to not knowing a man who so obviously knew him.

Angeal let out an impressive string of curses. Despite not recognizing him, some part of Cloud was sure that was not his usual behavior. With one final caress, Sephiroth moved away from Cloud to circle the couch, “While I agree with the sentiment, this is not the time.”

“I know.” Angeal stood with a groan, “Come on, Cloud. I’ll take you to medical.”

“We both will.” Sephiroth said, his face grim.

Angeal put a hand on Sephiroth’s tense forearm. Cloud was startled when Sephiroth allowed it. Sephiroth rarely let anyone touch him, “Seph. I can do it. Once he’s patched up he’ll understand-“

“He came here almost immediately after leaving you to talk to me because he believed he was unfaithful to me.” Sephiroth said with a wry smile, “Either that’s love or a complete lack of self-preservation. I think I can handle a trip to the infirmary for him.”

Cloud knew how much Sephiroth hated the medical ward. He reached out and took Sephiroth’s hand, “It’s love, believe me. I was so angry with myself when I thought… even if I have no idea what’s going on here, I’m glad that we’re okay.”

He did not miss the hurt on Angeal’s face, but he did not know what he was supposed to say. Before he could come up with something, Sephiroth and Angeal were leading him back to the elevators again. Angeal pulled out his phone and started tapping out a message on the screen, “I’m going to let Genesis and Zack know. I don’t want them to be surprised when they get back and they should already be on their way.”

Sephiroth looked at Cloud with an eyebrow arched in unspoken question. Cloud could vaguely recall Zack. They had met on a mission at one point, before Cloud had become a Soldier. Genesis’s name did not bring any images to mind. He shook his head and immediately felt guilty when Sephiroth’s frown deepened.

When Angeal gave the nurse an edited version of the events that led to his injury, Cloud was immediately escorted to an exam room. The doctor pulled up his file and asked him basic questions about who he was. His name, family information, date of birth, all those things came easily. Only his memories of Angeal, Genesis and Zack seemed to be missing.

The doctor cast a complex healing spell on his head and told them that the lost memories could return with time. He talked about some of the side effects of the Soldier treatment and how memory loss was not unheard of. It was possible that the mako that would have rushed to help fix the head injury may have also damaged those memories beyond repair. They could only wait and see.

He recommended several techniques they could use to try jogging his memory and told Cloud that he would need to remain off duty for at least three days and on an easy mission load for at least a week to give the healing time to stick. It would also give them time to be sure that he had not forgotten anything vital to his survival. Sephiroth assured the doctor that it would be arranged and asked him to forward a copy of the medical report to Lazard for Cloud’s records.

Angeal looked so guilty as they headed back towards Sephiroth’s apartment that Cloud reached out and took his hand. The three of them obviously had some kind of understanding. Sephiroth had not cared that he had slept with Angeal, so he doubted a little handholding would bother him, “It’ll be alright, Angeal. It’s not your fault, no matter what happened this morning. Maybe once you guys explain everything to me, it’ll come back.”

Squeezing his fingers with a chuckle, Angeal said, “I should be the one comforting you. I know it’s not my fault exactly, but if I had just let you turn off the stupid phone-“

“For knowing that it was not your fault, that sounds suspiciously like self-reproach. If Cloud were feeling more like himself, you’d be getting scolded right now.” Sephiroth said mildly, “Things will come out right, one way or another. If he has lost his memories of our past, we will simply help him make new ones.”

Sephiroth’s apartment was occupied when they returned. Cloud remembered Zack from fuzzy memories of the mission where they had first met. He could only assume that the redhead beside him was Genesis. They both looked bone weary.

Zack walked up to Angeal and smacked him playfully, “And you used to call me puppy. I can’t believe you played too hard and bounced him out of bed.”

“Now will you let me help you pick out proper bedroom furniture?” Genesis asked, “Perhaps with a bedside table made of wood that would have given way under a skull instead of bruising it?”

Sephiroth wrapped his arms around Genesis’s waist, drawing Genesis back against his chest, “He feels guilty enough as it is. If Cloud doesn’t blame him, you can’t either.”

Genesis grumbled under his breath but relaxed back against Sephiroth with a sigh. Beside them, Zack and Angeal kissed hello, completely unconcerned that the others were watching. Cloud turned his gaze away from the two pairs and down toward his shoes, unsure of where he fit in exactly.

He was surprised when Zack’s gloved hand nudged his chin upwards a moment later, “Now there’s an expression I haven’t seen in years. What’s got you looking so shy? Let me guess, they were so worried about getting you checked out that they didn’t tell you what’s going on?”

“You would have been the same way had you been in my shoes.” Angeal muttered, “It was damned scary.”

“Yeah, but I remember that look, even if you guys don’t. He’s terrified he’ll say the wrong thing and too stubborn to ask questions on his own.” Zack said, slinging an arm around Cloud’s shoulder and leading him to the couch, “Why don’t we order up some lunch and have a chat. Bring him up to speed.”

Cloud felt his face flush as Zack nailed his feelings perfectly before Cloud could even figure them out for himself, “Thanks Zack.”

Zack grinned at him, “Man… it’s like looking at you from a few years back. All shy and nervous… as much as I like the confidence you’ve picked up, I occasionally miss this side of you.”

Genesis left Sephiroth to sit on Cloud’s other side, “Angeal mentioned in his messages that this may be a permanent state. You were certainly fun to pursue the first time around… I wouldn’t mind a second go.”

“And all your old tricks are new again.” Zack teased, “With the plus of knowing what didn’t work last time.”

Cloud laughed at the way they were both eyeing him. Judging by the smug look on Genesis’s face and the pleased grin on Zack’s that was exactly what they had been hoping for. Cloud felt himself relax between them as Sephiroth and Angeal joined them on the loveseat beside their couch.

“I ordered up everybody’s favorites from that Wutain place up the street.” Angeal said, shoving his phone back in his pocket, “We can do home cooked for dinner. Whatever you two want, so think about it.”

Genesis snorted, “We already talked about it. We were knee deep in the muck outside of Gongaga for two days. Thoughts of our welcome home dinner kept me from snapping and burning down the whole forest.”

“He’s being completely serious. We want that pasta dish with the tomatoes and spinach and creamy cheese sauce. Maybe with some chicken in it?” Zack added, doing his best not to drool at the thought, “I might have ordered the stuff you need for it already. It’ll get here later in the afternoon.”

There was a moment of awkward silence as everyone looked at each other to start. Finally Zack sighed and scratched the back of his neck, “The obvious place to start is with us. The only person you remember is Seph?”

Cloud nodded, “Yeah. I know that we’re dating… the earlier details are a little fuzzy.”

“Why Sephiroth though?” Genesis asked with a pout, “Why only him?”

Sephiroth rolled his eyes, but Zack held up a hand to stop the argument that was about to start, “He actually has a point, Seph. I mean, Cloud and I were buddies before he ever met you three. Seems like it would make more sense if he remembered me.”

“I first heard about Sephiroth back in Nibelheim.” Cloud said, smiling at the silver haired man, “I mean, I know how you feel about Shinra’s propaganda, but it made you sound like you were so heroic and brave… I wanted to be like you. That’s the whole reason I came to Midgar to join Soldier.”

The strain on Sephiroth’s face softened into a smile, “You never told me that.”

Cloud ducked his head, embarrassed, “No? Damn. I assumed that would be something I’d have told you guys. Forget it.”

“Heh. Not a chance.” Genesis said, good humor returning at Sephiroth’s sappy expression, “He looks positively smitten.”

Cloud nudged Zack, trying to draw attention away from himself again, “I do kind of remember meeting you on a mission once. Maybe start there and move forward?”

Zack nodded and started with the story of how they met. They explained everything to him in bits and pieces. There was a pause when the food arrived, but after that everyone took a turn relating memories of their favorite moments with Cloud.

It sounded wonderful, even the parts of the story that were less than happy. Cloud would have never imagined himself in a relationship with more than one person, but they all seemed so content just to be together. It was obvious that they all loved him. He was heartbroken that he did not remember any of it. Nothing that was said helped him to remember, but Angeal, Genesis, Sephiroth and Zack all agreed that they would try anything that he thought might work.

Both Sephiroth and Lazard took the doctor’s recommendation seriously. He used his three days of leave to rest and spend time with at least one the four men who loved him. Angeal pampered him, cooking his favorite meals and cuddling up beside him on the couch while they watched Cloud’s favorite movies. He swore it was not an apology, but Cloud was not fooled. He let Angeal do it anyway and enjoyed being so thoroughly taken care of.

Zack’s apartment sported an incredible gaming system. They spent hours working through a new game that they had not had the chance to try out before Zack left on his last mission. They worked well together solving puzzles and fighting monsters when they appeared. After a few hours and a save point, Cloud turned on Zack, shoving his character off a cliff in the middle of a complex puzzle. Zack made several inarticulate noises of surprise and Cloud suddenly realized what his phone’s alarm way, sending him into peals of laughter. When Zack tackled him back into the couch and attacked him with warm, eager kisses, Cloud went willingly. He only wished that the taste of Zack’s lips would suddenly become familiar.

Genesis had collected Cloud from Zack’s, declaring it date night for the two of them. They walked together along the streets of Midgar to a bakery in Sector Two that had some of the best pie that Cloud had ever eaten. Genesis admitted that he had dumbapples sent to him from his family’s orchard and sold them to the owner of the shop for outrageously low prices, just so he could have apple pie when he wished it. As Cloud shared his sweet tooth, they often made a date out of dessert. Genesis spent the night telling outrageous lies about things they had done together, forcing Cloud to guess what was true.

The redhead had not failed to hide his disappointment when his prompting failed to bring back any of Cloud’s memories. Cloud made him promise they could try again some time.

Through it all, Sephiroth was his constant. He consoled Cloud when Angeal looked heartbroken over a forgotten memory or Genesis was too sharp-tongued in his disappointment. He listened while Cloud vented his frustration over the whole situation. He distracted Zack when the man’s attention was too much for Cloud to handle. If Cloud had thought he loved Sephiroth before, it was nothing compared to how he felt now. Despite everything, he was happier than he could ever remember being before.

After a week with no changes, Sephiroth finally agreed to allow Cloud to return to duty. The five of them took over the simulation room for an afternoon of training, to assure themselves that Cloud was at his full fighting strength. The workout was grueling, but Cloud held his own among the First Classes. As they all headed back to their apartments, no one could question his fitness for duty.

They separated at the elevator, Genesis and Zack into Genesis’s apartment and the other three into Angeal’s. They had plans to meet up for dinner after everyone had taken the time to clean up and relax a bit. Sephiroth and Angeal continued their animated debate about some of the details of the simulation they had spent the afternoon working through. Cloud had lost track of the conversation around the twentieth floor, the technical talk going straight over his head.

“Go ahead and take the first shower, Cloud.” Angeal said, gesturing at a door further up the hall, “Towels are in the closet and soap is in the tub. You’ve got some clean clothes in the bottom drawer of the dresser in my room.”

Cloud nodded his thanks and left Angeal and Sephiroth to their discussion. Something seemed right about getting ready to shower at Angeal’s, even if it was not familiar. He stripped off his sweat soaked training gear and stepped under the warm spray, sighing in pleasure as the heat soothed his abused muscles.

Relaxing in the water, Cloud could just make out the low hum of Angeal’s voice and Sephiroth’s smooth deep reply. He could not make out the words, but just the sound was soothing. Every day, things felt more normal than they had the day before. He might not be in love with Genesis, Angeal or Zack, but he could see how easy it would be to fall in love with them again. He had no doubts that it would happen quickly. Cloud counted himself lucky to have such loving, understanding men in his life.

He scrubbed the shampoo out of his hair and grabbed the bar of soap blindly. The motion had been unconscious and Cloud laughed when he realized what he had done. Even if the memory was lost, his body seemed to remember. He lathered the soap in his hands and rubbed it over his skin.

The woods outside of Junon immediately came to mind with something spicy and rich that Cloud could not immediately identify. He breathed deeply and sighed, it was a nice smell.

Just like that, his mind cleared. The fog that had made his thoughts feel muddy melted away leaving him truly alert for the first time in days. How could he have forgotten Angeal? How could he have forgotten any of them?

Cloud barely took the time to wash the soap bubbles from his skin before turning the shower off. He wrapped the towel around his waist without really drying off. Angeal would be furious when he saw the puddles of water on the floor. Just the fact that he knew that made Cloud grin.

Angeal and Sephiroth immediately stopped talking when Cloud flung the door open. Cloud ignored their surprise and rushed to Angeal on the couch, throwing himself in the man’s lap. Angeal’s hand hovered awkwardly over Cloud’s hips as Cloud straddled him, making Cloud laugh.

He reached out and cupped Angeal’s face, drinking in the sight of his forgotten love. Even though they had seen each other nearly every day, Cloud felt like they had been apart for weeks, “Angeal.”

Before Angeal could say anything, Cloud leaned in a captured his mouth in a kiss. He nipped at Angeal’s lower lip when the man remained unresponsive for a moment too long. The stinging pain made Angeal gasp and Cloud took the opportunity to deepen the kiss.

Finally, Angeal’s brain seemed to catch up and he kissed Cloud back just as gladly. His hands gripped Cloud’s hips, fingers stroking the bare skin above the towel. Cloud laughed again and began to pepper kisses all over Angeal’s face between words, “You are the most understanding, thoughtful, wonderful boyfriend a man could ask for. I’m so sorry for scaring you, but you all took such good care of me.”

Angeal reached up and caught Cloud’s shoulder’s forcing him to still, “Cloud?”

Cloud grinned and nuzzled into Angeal’s hand, “I love you.”

The relief and joy in Angeal’s face was blinding. He pulled Cloud against him, uncaring of the way his uniform soaked up the water that had been clinging to Cloud’s chest. He buried his face in Cloud’s wet hair and chuckled with relief, “Cloud. Thank goodness...”

Neither realized that Sephiroth had moved until he ran a hand down Cloud’s back, “It’s good to see you feeling more like yourself at last. I should go get the others…”

Cloud sat bolt upright, suddenly as eager to see the others as he had been to get to Angeal. He climbed off Angeal’s lap and ran for the door. Angeal jumped over the back of the couch to follow him, Sephiroth close on his heels.

“I guess it’s a good thing that we are the only ones living on this floor.” Sephiroth murmured as Cloud dashed into the hallway in nothing but a towel.

“I don’t think that would have stopped him anyway.”

They watched from the doorway as Cloud hammered on the door to Genesis’s apartment. After only moments, the door flew open to reveal Genesis, fire spell burning in his hand. Cloud grabbed the leather straps crossing Genesis’s chest and dragged him down for a searing kiss.

Genesis’s reaction was far more immediate than Angeal’s. He let the magic dispel and lifted Cloud off his feet, encouraging the blonde to wrap his legs around Genesis’s waist. He pulled back from Cloud’s mouth panting and said, “It’s about damn time!”

Zack let out a cheer of agreement from inside the apartment as Genesis carried Cloud back through the door. Angeal and Sephiroth were quick to follow, more than ready to celebrate Cloud’s recovery.