Title: One Wing
Fandom: Kingdom Hearts
Disclaimer: No implied ownership, no financial gain, only fanwork.
Characters/Pairings: Implied pre-fic Leon/Sora and Cloud/Riku, eventual Leon/Cloud, Sephiroth/Riku, etc. Everyone/Everyone. Full cast.
Rating: MA overall
Summary: Cloud left to train and has ended up in Traverse Town. He's looking for something, someone... but when the nights are as lonely as they have been...
Notes: Slightly A/U, uses more Final Fantasy backstory than KH. Contains plenty of foul language, stupid jokes, dated references, etc. This was written more as silliness than high literature.
Cloud Strife turned the rather confusing map upside down and looked at it again. He still couldn't figure out where he was. Whoever made this map, he decided, should be shot. He turned a corner, hoping for some semblance between the scenery and the map.
And he was too busy looking at that map to avoid colliding with another man. Cloud's victim dropped the bag he was carrying and various items rolled across the paving stones.
Cloud quickly crumpled the map into one hand and bent down to help retrieve what looked like several thousand gil worth of goodies. Or whatever they called money here. He didn't care. He hated these worlds. He wasn't exactly sure why though. It seemed like they were messing with his memory, and he hated that. He knew his memories had been tampered with before, and he was desperately searching...
"Sorry. I was trying to figure out..." Cloud started, reaching for some of the spilled goods. It didn't look like anything had broken.
Both finally got a good look at each other. Cloud knew he didn't fit in well with the rest of the town's inhabitants, not with his excess weaponry... or what was hidden underneath the red cloak he'd borrowed from an old friend. One who'd been evading his memories lately, sadly.
The man he'd crashed into looked to be about the same age as he, with shaggy brown hair and ice blue eyes. And leather.
They reloaded the bag in silence.
Cloud sighed and offered up his crumpled map. "Do you know how to find..."
"No," the other man answered, turning to leave. He walked a couple steps before stopping.
"I might," he said quickly. "But I'm in a hurry."
Cloud hurried over with the map outstretched. "I'm new in this world. I came here in a dumpy spaceship built out of Lego or something and the damned thing is falling apart. I need to find a place to at least get it fixed but I can't figure out which side of the map is out."
A flicker of a smile formed on the other man's face. "A gummi ship. One of the guys I work with fixes them. Just follow me."
And off he walked, leaving Cloud staring after him.
He quickly ran to catch up. "Thank you, um..."
"Leon. And give me that map." He yanked the map roughly from Cloud's hands. "Whoever made this map should have it shoved up his ass. I'll get you a better one. That or have Yuffie show you around. She..."
"Yuffie?! Yuffie's here!" Cloud exclaimed. He remembered the bratty ninja quite well, once her name had been brought up.
"You know her?" Leon asked, looking strangely at his new companion.
"She's from my world," Cloud said slowly, processing the new info carefully. "Who else is here? I'm looking for someone very special to me."
Leon shrugged. "How should I know who's from your world?"
"Well, is there anyone Yuffie seems to know well?" Cloud asked, his mind going a million miles an hour. He clicked his metal claws together anxiously.
"She lives with her friend Aerith in Third..." Leon began, now very interested in what information this new visitor could provide.
"Aerith!" Cloud yelled. "Aerith! I thought she was dead!" Something else clicked in his brain. "Anyone could be here then," he said quickly.
"Aerith thinks she's been here for years," Leon explained. "But we aren't sure how time works here. None of us have a very good memory anymore. Maybe a year here isn't the same as a year on another world."
They turned another corner while Cloud was thinking. He felt like his brain was going to explode with all the new information.
"I thought I'd never see anyone again," Cloud said softly, trying to take in the twists and turns they were making while also trying to remember...
"What's your name?" Leon asked suddenly.
"I think Aerith's mentioned you before, awhile ago. Maybe Sora was talking about you. I wasn't paying much attention."
"Sora? Not Vaguely-annoying-teenager-with-unruly-hair-silly-weapon-talking-animals-following-him Sora?" Cloud asked, not believing how small the worlds had suddenly become.
"That would be him. These items are for him when he comes back," Leon said, gesturing to the bag. "How do you know him?"
"I have a contract to fight in the Coliseum," Cloud explained. "I wasn't huge on fighting him at first, but now we have a bit of an understanding."
"Oh?" Leon was a little confused. Weren't the fighters at the Coliseum bad guys?
"I let him kick my ass to make him look good and he tells me stories later in the locker room. All these worlds... But he never mentioned Aerith or Yuffie. Hell, he never named names, come to think of it. Besides a couple boyfriends, of course," Cloud said, grinning. "I remember that age."
"Boyfriends?" Leon asked, a little curious on just what Sora had told the blond.
Cloud nodded. "He's absolutely hung up on this Riku kid I spent some time training. I didn't tell him about that, of course. Hell, anyone could be hung up on Riku. The kid is something else in just about every category."
Leon was watching the other man carefully. He didn't look like a heartless, but seemed to be in league with them anyway. "Sora has talked about Riku quite a bit."
"There's another guy he has a thing for though. I think they just kind of fooled around though, nothing serious. He asked me if it was wrong because he was in love with someone else." Cloud shrugged. "I couldn't tell him it was - I have plenty of things I can't tell him. Besides, the nights get cold and lonely no matter what world you're on."
Leon nodded. He had been leading Cloud the longest possible way to Cid's place, mainly to gather all the information he could since the blond was obviously willing to talk. There were only so many long ways to take though, and before long they'd be out of options.
"You work for the heartless?" It was the tough question. Leon wished he was armed, but he assumed he was just going on a quick errand. Cloud had one hell of a sword with him, but Leon knew where he was going.
Cloud stopped dead. "I... Yes. And No."
Leon held the blond in his icy gaze. "Explain."
"I'm trying to find someone. I can barely remember now. But I was promised help and I fell for it. I got out of the main contract but I still have to stay and fight in the Coliseum tournaments," Cloud said. He wasn't proud of any of it. He'd seemed to have lost most of his mind while staying in that world. "I asked for a month to train on other worlds so I could keep up with the competition. But the useless joobjoob ship or whatever it is, only made it here."
Leon thought a moment. "That's a stupid story. If you were lying, you'd have come up with something better than that."
"Thank you, Leon," Cloud said flatly.
The walked on in silence. Cloud figured he'd have to run for his life at some point. Hopefully after his ship had been fixed.
"We're here," Leon said, pushing inside a storefront. Cloud followed quickly, not wanting to lose sight of his guide.
Once inside Leon put his bag on a threadbare sofa and motioned for Cloud to have a seat.
Leon walked to the counter and banged relentlessly on a small silver bell that echoed painfully through the building.
"Give me a fucking second!" a voice called out from the back of the shop. A moment later a disheveled blond walked out into the room. He had grease covering most of his face, arms, and outfit.
Cloud looked up when he sensed the other man enter the room. They looked at each other a moment.
"Cid?!" Cloud stood quickly.
"You two know each other?" Leon asked. His day was definitely getting interesting.
"Aerith told me she thought you were out there somewhere. Never thought I'd see you with my own fucking eyes though. It's been a long time... hasn't it?" Cid said, coming around the counter and grabbing Cloud's arms in greeting.
"I don't know. I don't think it has, Cid. But it's good to see you," Cloud replied.
Cid frowned a second, fingering the worn red cape. He looked sadly into the Mako blue eyes.
"Another thing I can't remember," Cloud said. "I'm sorry."
"It's alright," Cid said softly before transforming into his usual self. "So how the fuck did you get here?"
"Gumball ship," Cloud explained. "But it's a piece of garbage. Can you..."
"Gummi ship," Cid corrected. "I work on them now."
Cloud nodded. It seemed fitting enough. "I can't believe Aerith is here."
"And Yuffie. But Aerith was a fucking shocker. She doesn't remember much of what happened though. Neither do I. I did, but it's gone now," Cid said. "I guess when the world goes, the memories start to fade as well."
Leon nodded. "We should be going."
"We?" Cloud asked.
"You are going to help us, aren't you?" Leon asked.
"Leon hasn't filled you in on the fucking details, has he?" Cid said, fumbling for a cigarette.
"Details? Now what am I missing?" Cloud asked, getting more upset by the second. Just when things were finally starting to make sense in his mind, he was getting overwhelmed again.
"We're trying to destroy the heartless," Leon explained. "And since you're one of them, you have information we can use."
"What?" Cid asked, almost dropping his lighter. "Cloud's a..."
"Heartless," Cloud finished. "I work with them. I'm not fond of them though. But... I have a contract. I'm not supposed to destroy anything, at the moment."
"Fuck your contract!" Cid exclaimed.
"No," Leon said. "Maybe he can be more useful if he stays with them but feeds us info on the side. What do you say, Cloud?"
After a moment, Cloud nodded. "I just want one thing."
"I don't think I'm quite the Cloud anyone remembers. There are so many things I don't remember or are confused in my mind," Cloud explained. "I want you to keep me from doing anything I shouldn't. I don't know if they can control me at all or not."
"You're the same fucking Cloud I remember," Cid said. "Absolutely fucked in the brain."
Cloud managed a small smile beneath the top of his cape.
"Are you ready to visit Aerith and Yuffie?" Leon asked. "We can come back here anytime."
Cloud nodded. "Are you going to be my chaperone now?"
"Can't take any chances, heartless boy."
"Bring your ship around tomorrow," Cid said. "I have to get back to work."
"Sure thing, Captain," Cloud replied, waving as Cid went back to the rear of the store.
"Captain?" Leon asked.
"Yeah. He was the Captain."
Leon grabbed the item bag and let Cloud back out of the shop. Neither spoke until they got to the gate to Third District.
"Aerith and Yuffie live in a small house here. I live next door. You should stay with me," Leon said.
"Since you're watching my every movement and all," Cloud replied, pushing the gate open.
"Squall!" A voice yelled as soon as the pair was in Third District. "Is that..."
It was Yuffie, who leaped over a stone wall and landed gracefully in front of them. By the time she was halfway into her question her eyes were huge.
"Cloud! You are alive!" She hurled herself at him full force and crushed him into a hug.
"What's going on?" It was a more melodic voice. "Cloud?"
Cloud saw a rush of pink as his voice caught in his throat. Aerith came rushing down a set of stairs and stood before him.
"Hi," he managed, trying to pry Yuffie loose.
"Sora told us you were out there, but..." Aerith began.
"He's with the heartless," Leon said. "But he'll tell us what he can."
Yuffie let go of Cloud and was running her hands along the red cape. "Is this from..."
Cloud nodded. "I don't remember how."
Aerith stepped forward to hug him as well. She quickly backed away, shaking her hands. "What... you aren't..."
Cloud hung his head. "It's not like that," he said. "I had it before all of this. From another time."
Both Leon and Yuffie looked confused.
"Had what?" Yuffie asked.
"You just hugged me," Cloud said. "What did you feel?"
"Armor, your sword, a lumpy cape?" Yuffie said, ticking off items on one hand.
"And this," Cloud said softly, shaking the cape off his left shoulder and stretching an odd black wing.
"One wing?" Leon questioned. "Why?"
Yuffie looked pale. "I can't remember, but isn't it something bad?"
Aerith shook her head. "No, there's something about it that makes sense."
"Whatever it is, I don't like showing it off," Cloud explained, tucking it back beneath the cape. "It's a part of me, yet it feels like it's only the beginning of something."
"It fits you," Leon said.
"We can talk inside," Aerith said. "Are those the items for Sora? I hope he's back soon."
Leon nodded and both he and Cloud followed the women back to their house.
"Would you like to clean up?" Yuffie asked. "How did you get here anyway?"
"Goonie ship," Cloud replied. "And that'd be nice."
"Are you gonna stay with Squall?" The ninja asked. There was that name again.
"Leon. Oops. He wants to be Leon now, but I think he looks more like a Squall," Yuffie explained, leading Cloud down the hallway. "Bathroom is here, there should be lots of towels. Do you have anything else to wear? You're filthy."
Cloud shook his head. "You know me. Two pairs of clothes and twenty swords. All of which are still on the Goober ship."
"I'll have... Leon... bring you something. Even if he won't, I'm gonna trust you. I know you used to trust me even when you shouldn't have." The girl smiled. "I'm so happy you're here. You'll have to tell me all about what you've been doing!"
"Yuffie!" It was Aerith, calling from another room. "Let Cloud wash up and rest. Leon says he'll be here a month so we can pester him later."
"Wash quick. I want to pester you now," Yuffie said before trotting off.
Cloud found himself smiling. He felt like he had a home again. And Aerith - he didn't want to let go of her again. She must not remember the power she has, he thought, she seemed surprised at even being able to sense the wing.
His wing. A couple times he had wondered if he was a fallen angel. A fallen one-winged angel. The thought made him shiver as he started stripping off his armor. He wasn't sure why that sounded familiar, or so right.
He was also curious about Leon, whom Yuffie called Squall. He knew Leon was a little older, but had fooled around with Sora a couple times. Sora had nothing but praise for the man, and Cloud was definitely intrigued. It was probably a combination of the leather, hair, eyes, scar, and attitude. And, he thought with a chuckle as he removed the red cape, Sora said Leon was pretty well endowed too.
The nights had been lonely, and he couldn't remember who he was supposed to be going home to.
Drink Lemonade! Tip Your Waitress!