Three Years Already
Title: Three Years Already
Fandom: Kingdom Hearts
Disclaimer: No ownership implied, no profit gained. This is a fanwork.
Summary: Leon can't sleep. He never can.
Notes: For Cat. Rated for language, mostly.
Three years... It had been three years already. Leon flicked off the lights of his apartment and walked through the debris lying on the floor to lay down for awhile. He didn't really sleep anymore. He just rested. Sleep was something reserved for those who'd chosen to accept their fates readily.
Napped. He'd accepted the word 'nap' to describe the fitful hour-long bursts of downtime his body required, though 'nap' seemed almost too peaceful to describe what he felt when he woke up screaming with tears pouring down his cheeks.
And when he woke, it only served as a reminder to how alone he was. He'd lost his family, which hadn't hurt at first. He'd convinced himself that he hadn't really been close to them, but in truth, he'd cried the second day he'd had to eat a breakfast Ellone hadn't cooked. No one had seen him cry though. By then they were all staying in the Traverse Town hotel and he'd just locked himself in the bathroom.
But as much as he missed his family, he knew they were lost forever to him. He'd grieved for them and accepted their passing.
He couldn't do that for his lover. He couldn't accept it, no matter how hard he tried, he refused to believe his lover was gone. Perhaps because he'd quit trying to convince himself. He didn't like thinking about it, so he stopped. And the last thing he wanted to do was give up the tiny glimmer of hope that one day a ship would arrive and they would be magically reunited.
Leon rolled over, onto his stomach. He was thinking about it again. And he hated thinking about it. With one blind swipe he grabbed his pillow and pulled it over his head. Still, the thoughts wouldn't go away.
"I need to get out of here," Leon mumbled into the sheets and threw the pillow across the room as he slid off the bed and trudged toward the main room of the apartment.
He thought about a walk through Second District to clear his mind, but something was tugging at his mind, begging for some company. After all, another person was bound to take his mind off of his current train of thought.
It was late, he knew, and he quickly removed Aerith from his list of potential people to visit. Aerith had taken Yuffie to live with her once they arrived in Traverse Town and was raising the little girl as best she could.
They'd most likely gone to sleep for the evening, he guessed, and moved on to the next person he could tolerate for more than a few minutes. The only other boy in town near his age was named Sine. They'd formed an uneasy friendship that eventually turned into a respectable alliance.
And Sine lived in the same District, meaning he didn't have to deal with the gates in the middle of the night.
With a silent grumble, he grabbed his jacket from one of the kitchen chairs before crashing into the table. Fine, he'd relent and turn a light on.
Once the fluorescent light over the sink had sprung to life, Leon moaned and shielded his eyes. He wasn't sure quite why though, whether it was from the sudden light or from the piles of dishes and carryout boxes that needed to thrown away.
He just didn't care about cleaning though. He didn't have anyone to impress. And while his space had always been immaculate back in Hollow Bastion, he didn't feel like the same person who'd lived there. He wasn't Squall, the somewhat withdrawn yet optimistic teen who wanted to grow up to be a mercenary. He'd wanted to be the good guy and save the day, silly as it sounded now.
He hadn't saved anything. Not even the one he loved. Sure, he was earning a reputation in Traverse Town, but it didn't mean anything now. It was too late.
Kicking a stray carry-out box, he put his jacket on and headed towards the door. Even if Sine wasn't around, he had other options. He grabbed his weapon as almost an afterthought.
"Stupid," he said under his breath. Leaving without a weapon in the middle of the night would have been suicide. And while he had... thought of it once, he just couldn't. Not while he clung to a glimmer of hope.
If nothing else, he could always fight heartless until he was too exhausted to stay awake. Too exhausted to think.
Once... he'd thought about it more than once.
Knocking at Sine's apartment, he didn't hear any noise from inside. Most likely his friend was out with someone else. That was Sine's way. With a shrug, Leon walked back down to the open part of the District and sat down on one of the benches. Usually the heartless assumed he was a sitting duck and he would have himself a good battle in less than a minute. But tonight, none came.
That meant they were off somewhere, he thought, destroying another world.
Third District proved to be the same way. Boring. He supposed he should be thankful for it. Most nights he wouldn't have minded being able to pass freely to where ever he desired. But he just needed something at the moment.
Passing into First District, he glanced around for anyone on the streets. Nightlife was rare in Traverse Town. There was only one bar, and as late as it was, it was most likely closed already. The cafe near the main square was open twenty-four hours, but the last thing he wanted to do was be harassed by the perennially cheery waitress who worked the overnight shift.
Some days though, he was very tempted to ask what she medicated herself with to keep her sunny disposition. It could come in handy on his darkest of days. Maybe it would make his nightmares end.
Letting out his breath, he realized he'd been standing there for quite awhile, lost in thought. There had to be something to take his mind off of everything.
He walked up a couple of sets of stairs, looking around for anything happening within the District. It may as well have been a ghost town. Mentally, he chided himself for using that phrase as he idly swung his gunblade in a wide arc.
May as well prepare for the cheeriest waitress ever. Not that he was very hungry. But just the idea of another human was the appealing thing, and at least listening to her gossip would be a welcome distraction from the silence around him and the noise in his mind.
He'd taken two steps when he noticed a light coming from a side street. Investigating, he realized the light was coming from Cid's shop. He wasn't the closest with the vulgar mechanic, but they had a sort of camaraderie that came from being one of the few survivors of their world.
Cid always talked, whether anyone wanted him to or not. He was the perfect distraction.
Walking down the narrow street, Leon pondered his decision. He wasn't feeling particularly stable and hoped Cid wouldn't antagonize him unnecessarily.
He rang Cid's bell before he had the chance to think more on the subject and then waited. And waited. Finally, as he turned to leave, the door swung open behind him.
"What the fuck?" Cid muttered, not seeing Leon's retreating form at first.
"Cid," Leon said, turning back. "I..."
Come to think of it, what was his reason? He just didn't want to be alone, thinking, he decided was the best answer, if asked.
"Hell, come in already. It's cold out here," Cid interrupted, motioning for Leon to follow him into the building.
Leon nodded and followed Cid into the apartment attached to Cid's shop. It wasn't spotless, but it was reasonably tidy. Some partially-disassembled bit of an engine sat on Cid's coffee table. Sitting beside it was a half-empty bottle of some sort of alcohol and a glass.
Pausing a moment as Cid walked to the aging green sofa and sat, Leon wondered just how much Cid had already had to drink. Alcohol was one of the things Leon generally stayed away from, even on nights such as this.
"Drink?" Cid asked, holding up the bottle as though he was reading Leon's mind.
Leon started to shake his head before he reconsidered. Why not? After all, if he had a bit much, he was sure Cid would let him stay and sleep it off.
"So what are you doing wandering around in the middle of the fucking night, anyway?" Cid asked as he poured the shot glass and slid it towards Leon, who was still standing and clutching his gunblade.
Leon set down his weapon and moved to sit at the other end of the sofa. He picked up his drink and sniffed it. The smell alone almost gave him a buzz. And Cid'd had how much already?
"I couldn't stop thinking," Leon replied before quickly downing most of the shot glass' contents. It didn't burn, much.
"About what?" Cid asked before making a slight grunt of realization. "Oh. That stuff again."
"I can't help it."
"It's been three years, Squall," Cid said.
"Don't call me that," Leon snapped. "And just... don't talk about it."
Cid looked away, taking a swig from the bottle as he did so.
"Fine. Just don't think you're the only one who lost everything. We all did, remember?"
Leon looked at Cid a moment. He knew Cid was in his mid-twenties and had been starting up his own business when the world ended. He'd never asked if Cid had lost anyone important to him though. Cid had been the one everyone clung to at first, they'd expected him to be strong... Leon had never thought of what Cid had gone through.
"I wish I could turn it off... forget it all," Leon said after a moment. He held out his glass for Cid to refill.
"You don't need to forget it - just fuckin' move on," Cid replied while pouring. "Keep the memories alive but realize that's all they are now."
"You lost someone important too, didn't you?"
Cid nodded slowly. "I just don't let it get to me like you do."
Leon wasn't quite sure how he ended up sitting so close to Cid. It was just that they'd been talking and every time he had needed a refill on his drink, he'd had to scoot closer. So in a matter of an hour of so Leon had ended up beside Cid, listening to the end of the story Cid had to tell.
Cid hadn't been giving him too much alcohol though, and didn't seem to be drinking much himself. Leon wasn't sure exactly why that was, but perhaps Cid didn't want either of them to lose themselves too far.
Leon found himself staring at Cid, wondering just when the mechanic had let his hair get so long. It wasn't quite to his shoulders, but it was longer than Leon could ever remember it being. But Leon reminded himself that his own brown mop was trailing quite a ways down to his back. He'd never really thought about it before, but they'd all become totally different people than who they'd been back in Hollow Bastion.
And when Leon brought his gaze up to meet Cid's, he realized Cid had been staring back. They both awkwardly looked away before cycling back to look at their respective hands, then at one another.
"Your hair's gotten damn long," Cid said, reaching over to tug at a chunk that was hanging down over Leon's shoulder.
"You aren't one to talk," Leon replied, grasping his hair just above where Cid was holding it and pulling it away.
"Mine isn't..." Cid trailed off as he reached back and realized just how long his hair had grown. "Fuck."
Leon managed a slight smile, mainly at managing to put Cid in his place. The alcohol in his body was making him feel warm, more comfortable with the situation than he normally would have been.
That's probably why he didn't flinch when Cid leaned over and quickly kissed him. It wasn't so much anything deep and meaningful, but instead exploratory.
And much to the surprise of even himself, Leon didn't pull back. In his mind he'd decided Cid was right about everything else, so maybe this too was right.
Somehow they ended up half-sprawled on the sofa with Cid on top of Leon, deepening their kisses slowly. Leon felt almost like he wasn't in control of his body. It was a welcome reprieve, really. He'd never once thought about Cid in this sense, and truthfully it did seem a bit weird. But that aside, Cid was a good kisser. Leon was responding as best he could for being almost pinned in place. All he could do was kiss back, using his own tongue to taste what he could of Cid.
Suddenly Cid pulled back, removing himself to the far end of the sofa and looking away.
"Fuck. I shouldn't have done that."
Leon winced, trying to sit up. He was just a little unsure of what was going on. But it did seem obvious - he'd been rejected.
"You didn't come here for anything like that," Cid continued, finally looking over to where Leon sat.
Fatigue was starting to wash over Leon. He had no idea how late it was and didn't know where in the apartment to look for a clock.
"It's... okay," Leon said after a moment. "You're the one who said I needed to move on."
They stared at each other for a moment, neither one too sure how to address what had passed between them.
"Sleep on it," Cid finally said.
"Sleep..." Leon replied, not trying to hold back a yawn.
"Fuck, you look like you're going to pass out on me. Stay here," Cid said, standing and walking quickly from the room.
"I..." Leon began in protest, only to realize Cid probably couldn't hear him.
"Here," Cid said, coming back into the room and throwing a blanket at Leon. "Get some damned rest."
When Leon woke, the apartment was quiet. He shuffled to the bathroom, clutching his head as he went and only accidently seeing the clock amongst the slight clutter when he arrived.
It was already the middle of the afternoon. He'd... slept.
It hadn't been the alcohol, he was sure of that. Alcohol was a remedy he had tried in the past, even if he normally stayed away from it now.
And then there was Cid.
Without much of a second thought, Leon helped himself to a quick shower and found himself vividly replaying the entire scene from the night before.
He knew he'd never forget the one he loved first, but... maybe... things...
By the time Leon turned off the water, he had made his decision. And for the next three years, he slept every night.
Drink Lemonade! Tip Your Waitress!