The blissful silence that greeted Angeal when he opened the door to his apartment was like a perfectly timed cure spell. He shut the door behind him and leaned against it, reveling in the peace. The day had been the painful end to an agonizing week. He had been in a state of near constant stress from the moment he opened his eyes each morning until his brain finally gave up thinking for the night.
It seemed illogical to him, his missions, reports and requisitions had been completely ordinary. He had enjoyed dinner with Sephiroth one night and lunch with Zack twice, his time with both men was pleasant but not nearly as relaxing as usual. He had hardly managed to say more than hello to Genesis most days, but they were both being kept busy so they took what the could get. Some weeks were just like that.
No matter what he tried, Angeal could not unwind. His temper was grew shorter and his mind wandered, constantly unfocused. He put in for a weekend of leave quietly, not intending to go anywhere or do anything. He hoped that just knowing he was off duty would help reset his poor attitude.
Angeal pushed off the door and stretched muscles that ached dully from too many hours spent behind a desk. He turned on a lamp in the living room as he headed for the bedroom. He was not ready for sleep, but a few mindless hours of television in his comfiest pair of pajamas sounded grand. Not bothering to turn on the light in his bedroom, Angeal stripped himself of the heavy leather belt and harness and dumped them on the floor in his closet.
He spun at the startled noise behind him, shocked to find Genesis curled up on his bed, “Gen?”
“Sorry, Angeal.” Genesis shoved the blankets off of himself, “I was waiting for you to get home and thought I would try to nap.”
Angeal flipped on a nearby lamp to get a better look at Genesis. Every line of his body curved with weariness even as he moved to embrace Angeal’s larger frame. His voice was muffled, his face pressed into the curve of Angeal’s neck, “You look stressed, dearest.”
Angeal leaned back and cupped Genesis’s face in his hand, “Not as stressed as you. Rough day?”
“Not overly so.” Genesis replied, leaning into Angeal’s touch with a contented sigh, “I woke up tired and the situation did not improve from there. I feel as if I haven’t slept in days. I had hoped that you would be willing to spend a quiet night in. I think I will feel much improved after some time curled up beside you.”
“That sounds perfect.” Angeal bent to press a kiss against Genesis’s temple. He could not help but notice Genesis’s hair seemed to lack some of its usual shine, “I’m not quite ready for bed, but-”
“Mmm.. I couldn’t seem to get myself to sleep either.” Genesis pulled himself away, gesturing for Angeal to change, “Movie?”
“My thoughts exactly.” Angeal stripped out of his uniform quickly, trading them for a well worn pair of sweatpants and an old Soldier t-shirt made soft from many washings, “Are you hungry?”
Genesis sighed, sinking back onto the edge of the bed, “I should be. I don’t think I’ve eaten since breakfast, but I can’t think of a single thing that would taste good.”
Angeal closed the space between them, resting his hand against Genesis’s forehead. The skin was warm, maybe even a little warmer than usual, but Angeal couldn’t tell if Genesis was feverish or not, “Are you coming down with something?”
“It’s been so long since I was sick last, I forget what it feels like.” Genesis gave Angeal a wry smile, tugging his hand away and pressing a kiss to his palm, “I doubt it though, I feel like I would be fine if I could just get a solid night’s sleep and not wake up to an alarm or phone call.”
“Well, then stay with me tonight. I’m off duty this weekend.” Angeal drew Genesis to his feet and wrapped an arm around his shoulders to lead him back towards the living room, “We’ll have some dinner, watch a movie and shut off our phones for the night. Then, we’ll sleep ourselves out and wake up feeling like new men.”
Genesis leaned into him, wrapping his arm around Angeal’s waist, “That sounds like… I don’t think there are words.”
“You, speechless?” Angeal teased, “Now I know you’re sick.”
Genesis shoved Angeal away. His playful pout was ruined by the way his lips were twitching upwards into a smile at the corners. Angeal chuckled and headed into the kitchen, “I’ve got some leftover stew we can heat up.”
“That recipe that Cloud’s mother sent over?” Genesis’s expression perked up for the first time that night. It only made Angeal more acutely aware of how pale and worn Genesis had looked, “I take it back. That sounds delicious. I could just kiss that woman.”
Angeal dished up two bowls of stew and put them into the microwave to warm, “Sephiroth and I are watching the mission list for anything in that area. After that night when Cloud told us about Nibelheim, we’re both dying to meet her. When Zack found out, he made a big scene about how mad he’ll be if we use our rank to steal a mission to Cloud’s hometown without him… of course Cloud was standing there while this was all going and and he was… less than amused. The whole thing was pretty funny.”
“We ought to just arrange for some leave.” Genesis murmured, leaning his head against his hand sleepily, “Or have Sephiroth hack the system and make up a fake mission… there are dragons out that way, aren’t there?”
Genesis snorted and cut him off, “Spare me. I was just making conversation. I know we would never get away with it. It’s no wonder you’re tired, dear, you’re wound so tightly that you can’t even have fun in my imaginary scenarios where we sneak off to a town in the ass end of nowhere to annoy our little trooper friend.”
Angeal snorted and set a bowl of stew in front of Genesis, “Right, imaginary, because you and Sephiroth have never lied about a mission or broken company rules to amuse yourselves.”
“As I recall, you threw the first broadsword at an apple that night in the VR room…”
Angeal only grinned and dug into his food. Genesis ate more slowly but steadily, which was good enough for Angeal. He worried about his red-haired lover, unable to remember the last time either of them had taken ill. Any illness strong enough to take him down would be dangerous. He made plans to send messages to Sephiroth and Zack as soon as Genesis had fallen asleep. Together they would make sure that Genesis took proper care of himself until he shook whatever bug was bothering him.
They left the dishes in the sink when they were done, abandoning the kitchen for the plush, comfortable couch waiting for them in the living room. Genesis dropped onto the couch with less than his usual grace, letting his head roll back against the cushions with a deep, relieved sigh.
“You have a preference for the movie?”
Genesis shook his head, lips quirked up in a smile as he watched Angeal move around the living room, “Pick whatever you want. I have a feeling that I’ll be asleep five minutes in, curled up next to you.”
Angeal smiled and grabbed a soft, well worn quilt he had brought with him from Banora. Even if he pretended that he was above their country roots, Angeal knew Genesis occasionally liked to be reminded of home. Settling against the arm of the couch, Angeal tugged Genesis into his arms and draped the quilt over them both. As Angeal had expected, Genesis buried his nose in the soft fabric and made a little contented noise.
Using the remote, Angeal flipped through the channels until a silly little comedy caught his eye. The movie itself was not nearly as relaxing as the feel of Genesis in his arms. Stress he had not even realized he was still carrying seemed to melt away at last. He pulled his hand free of the blanket and combed his fingers through Genesis’s hair.
“Mmm.. ‘geal.” Genesis turned his head and pressed a playful kiss against Angeal’s chest, “Your hands are marvelous.”
“So you’ve said.” Angeal teased, “…although usually while wearing much less clothing.”
Genesis grumbled something under his breath and butted his head against Angeal’s hand like large spoiled cat. Just as Angeal was about to give in and continue to pet Genesis’s hair, he noticed something odd. There was a single strand of hair that was catching the light. If it were not attached to Genesis’s head, he would have guessed it was Sephiroth’s, “Gen… you’ve got a grey hair.”
“Hm?” Genesis asked sleepily.
Instead of answering, he plucked the grey hair from Genesis’s head. Genesis hissed and smacked his chest, “What did you do that for? Haven’t you heard that you’re not supposed to pull a grey hair? Two more grow in to replace it!”
Angeal chuckled and held it it out him, “I was trying to preserve your image.”
“It won’t do me a lot of good if they multiply and I go prematurely grey.” Genesis scowled briefly at the grey hair before brushing it off of Angeal’s fingers, “When I have a full head of grey hair, I’m going to blame it on you.”
“You’d wear it well.” Angeal replied, nuzzling against the top of Genesis’s head, “Like everything else.”
Tipping his head back, Genesis kissed Angeal, “Flatterer.”
They settled back in together, getting cozy under the old quilt. True to his word, Genesis was asleep in minutes. Angeal let himself get lost in the mindless humor of the movie, sneaking occasional glances at Genesis’s sweet, unguarded expression. It was so different than the fiery, passionate face he showed the world. Not better, but a treat all the same.
As soon as the movie ended, Angeal gently moved Genesis to the bedroom. The redhead did not so much as stir when Angeal covered him with a blanket. It was the work of moments to send off a message to Sephiroth and Zack. He told them Genesis was feeling poorly and they were going to catch up on some much needed rest together.
Sephiroth response was immediate, wishes for a pleasant night and a request to meet up for lunch once they were both awake the next day. Zack’s response was slower and sloppily typed, he had gone out drinking with Cloud and his other friends, but he promised to stop and get some dumbapple pie and bring it by the next afternoon. He sent them both replies before shutting off his phone for the night.
He had been looking forward to that moment all day long. Warm and comfortable in his own bed, arms wrapped around Genesis, he was asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.