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An Unlikely Alliance

Title: An Unlikely Alliance
Fandom: Kingdom Hearts
Part: 4
Disclaimer: No ownership implied, no profit gained. This is a fanwork.
Characters/Pairings: Sephiroth/Cloud, Ansem
Rating: MA
Summary: What if... Ansem and Sephiroth teamed up to finish plunging all the worlds into darkness... Except, of course, they simply want to use the other's power... Or do they?
Notes: Originally this was a funhouse-mirror version of Without Armor, written under a different name to see if anyone could figure it out. However, it... never moved as quickly.

Ansem chuckled as he stepped closer to Sephiroth, giving the former general a thourough once-over.

"I believe that if you'd wanted to eliminate me, you would have already done so," Ansem replied. "You must believe there's something I can offer you..."

"Truth," Sephiroth interrupted as he took a step closer. He would not let himself be intimidated by the warrior-mage, even if he was the one who controlled the heartless. "Understanding. If you control the heartless, certainly you know the fate of worlds they've visited."

"Consumed," Ansem said curtly. "Reduced to nothingness. But that isn't all you seek."

"Perhaps it is not," Sephiroth stated. Truthfully, keeping Ansem as an ally was a much better idea than making an enemy of him. That was most of it - that and keeping Cloud safe. "What do you desire from me?"

Ansem smirked. "I need you to watch over a young warrior. Teach him, if he's willing to learn."

Frowning, Sephiroth paused for a moment before opening his mouth to speak.

But before words formed on his lips, sunlight pierced the arena. Ansem's face contorted to one of pain as the first rays hit him and in a swirl of grey smoke, he collapsed down onto the floor. Seconds later, as Sephiroth knelt to assist him, the smoke cleared to reveal a boy dressed in black, barely conscious and certainly unaware of his surroundings.

"That was... unusual," Sephiroth said mostly to himself as he scooped up the boy and slung the boy's dead weight over his left shoulder. Cloud would have to put up with sharing their room, at least until they'd all figured out what was going on.

"Who are you?" he asked the boy as he turned the corner into the last hallway before the room he shared with Cloud. Not a single one of the low level demons that worked throughout the place had commented on Sephiroth's burden, though Sephiroth supposed that if one had, he may have just attempted to vaporize it. The boy moaned in response but nothing more.

The predicament was interesting, if nothing else. Sephiroth had thought he'd found a powerful warrior-mage with exploitable power but instead he'd found a powerful entity with no body of its own that needed to rely on a donor who seemed to be mostly oblivious to his situation. Ansem existed only in darkness and the exhausted boy tossed over his shoulder came forth in the light.

There was little to do aside from biding time til dusk, Sephiroth decided as he opened the door to the room he shared with Cloud.

"Seph?" Cloud had an armload of books when he turned towards the door, no doubt picking up for the first time in weeks. As much as Sephiroth liked to consider himself tidy and self-sufficient, he had a slight weakness for leaving his research materials in disarray. And Cloud wasn't much of a maid, but he had his limits and apparently Sephiroth had nudged against them.

Cloud frowned when he saw the extra set of legs Sephiroth was holding and circled around to make sure there was an entire body attached. "What did you...?"

"I was asked to take care of him," Sephiroth replied, hoping to get out of the conversation with as few revelations and explanations as possible.

"By Hades?" Cloud questioned. "Shouldn't..."

"By one of Hades' likely conspirators," Sephiroth replied carefully. He doubted that the dark god had any clue about Ansem's slight problem. "I feel inclined to believe that Hades doesn't know exactly what has happened."

"And what has happened?" Cloud asked as he set the books down on a low table.

"Well," Sephiroth said, "I was asked to take care of him..."

Cloud didn't respond, instead he simply gestured towards the bed.

"He just needs to rest," Sephiroth added as he started off towards their bed. The room wasn't so much a room as almost a suite, but things weren't quite separate enough and there weren't quite enough amenities to consider it more than a room. Still, Sephiroth was fairly sure he could talk to Cloud without disturbing the boy; the better part of a stone wall blocked off the actual sleeping area from the sitting area.

The boy mumbled something as Sephiroth dumped him onto the bed and hauled a thick, somewhat itchy blanket over him.

"I wonder if you eat normal food," Sephiroth mused as he walked away. He'd see if the kitchen demons had any soup, or make Cloud go do it. Now that his books had been gathered into a pile, he would have to put in a little extra time getting everything situated again. His current project, however, wasn't as interesting as the boy on his bed.

"There's a tournament in a few days," Cloud said when Sephiroth reappeared, either unconcerned with the boy or simply attempting his usual apathy. "Maybe some off-worlders will come."

"Will you fight?" Sephiroth asked as he retrieved one of his books. He'd have to make a request to get any local texts with references to body sharing. The language wasn't particularly a difficulty, though he often found himself jotting notes in that language instead of their own, which frustrated Cloud.

"I have to," Cloud replied. "It's what I do here."

"I am more than willing to participate as well," Sephiroth said as he flipped a couple of pages and slowly walked over to one of the high-backed wooden chairs that dotted the sitting room. "If someone who could challenge me managed to appear."

"Does that mean we don't get to spar later?" Cloud asked as he stretched once, hands clasped above his head. "I think I can round up a few demons or something to push around, but..."

"We can spar," Sephiroth said as he set the book down, pages spread, on the seat of the chair and walked back over to Cloud. "We can go now and stop by the kitchen afterward to acquire something for our guest."

"You're not going to tell me about him, are you?" Cloud asked, frowning again. Still, he walked over to where his sword rested and grabbed it.

"I believe I've told you everything I know," Sephiroth replied, fairly sure he wasn't entirely lying. After all, they were merely discussing the boy and not any other peculiar entities who just happened to share they boy's body. "Truthfully, I can't even say that I know his name."

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