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: Puzzle pieces are falling into place as the Traverse Town group comes together and the truth is slowly revealed.
Notes: It's the sexy AU... *laughs*
"I don't want it," Cid replied as he headed towards the stairs to his living quarters.
"No, wait! You have to come see!" Bradey exclaimed, lunging for Cid and grabbing his arm, trying to pull him back into the shop.
"I don't want to fuckin' deal with you right now," Cid said, roughly pulling his arm free. "I'm going to grab a few fucking gil and go get myself some decent goddamn tea."
Bradey sighed and slumped down against the wall. So much for that plan. As she watched Cid vanish up the stairs, she slowly dragged herself back through the shop and out to the dock.
Not only was the ship deserted, but also the back door of the shop was open, leading right into town.
"Well," Bradey said softly to herself, "If Cloud can wander around with one wing, maybe Vincent will be okay with two."
She and Sora had both been a little surprised when Vincent didn't revert to a more human form when they left Halloween Town, but Donald had simply pointed out Cloud's predicament. Of course, it hadn't been in such nice terms. For once, Bradey was definitely glad she could rarely understand the foul-mouthed fowl. Working for Cid was quite bad enough.
Still, she figured she really should try to figure out where Vincent had vanished to. Surely he wouldn't have left on his own. Not as badly as he seemed to want to see Cid. Bradey slipped out the back door of the shop, pulling it quietly closed as she went.
After five minutes of pounding on the door to Leon's house, Sora was ready to see if his keyblade would work on the lock.
"Looking for Leon?"
Sora jumped. He'd been so centered on telling Leon everything he'd found out that he hadn't noticed Aerith sneaking up on him.
"Aerith, you scared me," Sora said with a pout. He felt a little embarrassed, mainly because if Aerith had been a heartless, he would have been a goner.
"Well you're supposed to keep your guard up," Aerith said, smiling kindly. "Cloud's been working with me on that."
Cloud. Sora had almost forgotten that he was still in Traverse Town. He hadn't stopped by the Coliseum on the return trip for once. Usually he stopped and got in a decent spar with Cloud, and a decent conversation afterward.
And while Sora wasn't sure just what had happened with Riku back in the whale, what he did know was that he really still cared for Riku.
"Where's Leon then? And Cloud? I want to talk to them both," Sora said. He wanted to talk to them, get everything out in the open.
"They're probably down in the secret waterway," Aerith said. "But I wouldn't..."
But it was too late, Sora was already running off, hollering thanks over his shoulder.
With a sigh, Aerith walked back to her house.
"Yuffie, ready to go?" she called inside.
"In a minute!" Yuffie's voice echoed from the hallway.
Aerith just shook her head before remembering she had a couple of potions to give to the adventurers. Knowing Donald and Goofy, they were already at the cafe. She was halfway inside one of the kitchen cupboards when Yuffie bounded into the kitchen.
"I'm ready to eat," Yuffie announced, stretching a bit and grinning.
"Sora's back," Aerith said as she emerged holding a transparent grocery bag with two potions inside. "He just came by here looking for Leon."
"Those for him?" Yuffie asked, pointing at the bag.
Aerith nodded as she herded Yuffie out the door and locked it behind her.
"You need to eat!" the black-haired woman said as she herded Vincent down the stairs and towards the cafe. Vincent sighed and let himself be pulled along. She'd smacked him with a spatula once to get him moving. And while Vincent really wanted to see Cid, the woman had promised that Cid would be where ever they were going.
"I'm fine," Vincent replied, hoping not to be hit again. He had yet to test the boundaries of his partial-transformation, and in all honestly, he didn't want to.
The woman stopped and stared at him.
"No. You look hungry."
Sora pushed the door open into Second District, and he met a large group of shadows as he did so. He destroyed as many as he could, quickly, letting only two escape and disappear back into the darkness.
He walked out into the open area of the district, surveying. Nothing so much as bothered him as he walked through the door to the alleyway. But before he could put the keyblade away, he heard a cry from the direction of the waterway.
"Leon?" Sora said quietly, suddenly realizing shadows were gathering around him on the hotel balconies and in the water beside him.
Another cry echoed through the alleyway, making Sora turn his head away from battle even as a pack of shadows descended on him.
In a quick motion, he was knocked backwards by some sort of oversized heartless. And it had very much hurt. He didn't even have time to dust himself off before the thing attacked again.
Cid dropped the cigarette he was trying to light the moment he turned the corner and walked into the cafe.
"Fuck," was he managed to say as he blinked a couple times.
"Cid?" Vincent turned from where both cafe ladies were over-affectionately hanging off of him, much to the unamusement of the cafe's other patrons, many of whom were still waiting for their meals.
Both ladies frowned at each other and then at Cid. Playtime was now over and they had to give up their new toy much too quickly for either's liking.
"It is you." Cid hadn't moved from where he'd stopped a moment ago. "How?"
Vincent managed a small smile as he rose from his chair. He gently shook the women from him and walked over to where Cid was standing.
"Your mechanic brought me with her," Vincent said before holding out his hand in greeting.
"Bradey?" It all clicked in his mind. His least-crazy employee really did have something to show him. And he'd thrown her aside in annoyance. "Fuck."
Cid looked down at the hand Vincent offered but shook his head. Instead he pulled the demi-demon into a tight embrace, ignoring the wings and other physical changes as he buried his face in Vincent's hair.
The entire cafe was staring at them when Vincent finally pulled away.
"Why did you do that?" Vincent asked, his red eyes downcast.
"Because I haven't fucking seen you in years," Cid answered. "I'd even forgotten..."
"Years?" Vincent cut in. "Cid, it's only been a few months."
"Am I the only one who remembers?"
It had been a couple of days since either of them had been in the mood for anything besides falling into bed exhausted. Cloud had been working constantly on his ship, which had needed more repairs than originally thought, and Leon had been working with both Aerith and Yuffie on their fighting skills in Cloud's absence.
But both of them had decided to take a day for themselves. Cloud had walked as far as the waterway entrance with his friendly shadow perched on his shoulder. He'd tried to explain that it needed to not follow, but it just cocked its head curiously, perhaps not understanding at all. Still, it had stayed in the alleyway and watched Cloud wade into the water, its vacant yellow eyes watching until Cloud vanished into darkness.
Leon had already been there, waiting. He'd assumed a fighting stance almost immediately, and the two of them had sparred for hours.
Now the two of them were naked and tangled in a pile of blankets, Cloud thrusting into Leon and doing his best to make them both cry out in sheer pleasure.
"You're kidding, right?" Yuffie asked as she walked along beside Aerith as they passed through the open area of Third District.
"Well, actually, it's not a bad show," Aerith said, trying to ward off a fit of giggles.
Yuffie stopped dead in her tracks. "No!"
"You've so not seen them!" Yuffie exclaimed before bursting out laughing.
"It was purely on accident," Aerith said, trying to hold her head high and not join in Yuffie's contagious laughter. Really, she'd just heard a bizarre noise and before she could stop to think, she'd gotten an eyeful.
"You're just glad to see Cloud happy, aren't you?"
They walked through the doors into First District still chattering about what had happened in the past, and how grouchy Cloud could be. And then Aerith stopped short as the cafe came into view.
"Aerith?" Yuffie inquired, only able to stand by and watch as the green-eyed woman grabbed her head and then collapsed. "Aerith!"
It took Sora nearly fifteen minutes to defeat the monstrous heartless creature that had appeared. The entire time he was hoping it wasn't someone he knew that he was fighting against. What had happened with Riku in the whale had been bad enough.
As soon as it had been destroyed, Sora flopped into the water, floating a moment before he heard another distinct cry echoing from the waterway. In an instant, he was swimming as fast as he could, hoping he would arrive in time to play the hero.
As he scrambled from the water and up onto the rocks, there were no heartless in sight. In fact, the second he took his third step onto the shore, he realized exactly what the cries had been. He couldn't tear his eyes away.
He could only stand and stare from a distance as Leon threw back his head and let out a long, load moan that turned to a breathless cry midway.
Leon was clinging tightly to Cloud as Cloud cried out his own release. Sora looked away a moment, confused as to what he was feeling. It was almost a feeling of elation. He knew he wouldn't be hurting Leon's feelings now. Leon had found someone else.
And, fighting arousal, he wondered if Riku would possibly be anything like what he'd just seen from Cloud.
Sora looked back to see that they were shifting positions a bit. They were still tangled, but, Sora guessed, Cloud's wing had been trapped in the blankets before.
And just then, he realized he was intruding a bit. But before he could leave, a voice called out to him.
"Sora, when did you get back?"
Riku fell to his knees in exhaustion. They'd been fighting all day and he honestly didn't think he could even get to his feet again. Ever since he'd slipped up and let Sephiroth know that he knew Cloud, things had changed.
He didn't want to say that Sephiroth had become less demanding, that was far from the truth. But he had changed in some way Riku couldn't quite put a finger on.
When Sephiroth had finally let him fall to the floor that day, Riku had just lay there in a fetal position, his hands trying to protect his throat and head. He had been gasping for breath and convinced he was going to die.
But no, Sephiroth had just picked Riku up and carried him off to their bed.
"Cloud was here?" he'd asked, petting the Riku's hair and kissing him gently.
"He'll be back?"
"Yes," Riku had said. "He'll be back."
He'd been too scared to try to escape from Sephiroth's bed that night, and the next day he'd been whisked away by one of the villainous oddballs that were always coming to boast their plans and take him on a field trip.
And he'd seen Sora. And Kairi. Yet he couldn't stay with either.
When he'd returned, Sephiroth seemed different. They spent more time in the practice arena and less time in bed.
Not much less time, Riku corrected himself based on how sore he remembered he was before they started sparring hours ago.
There was a tournament in three days, and he fully intended to fight. He needed every moment of practice he could get.
Even if he couldn't find the strength to get to his feet.
Vincent pulled Yuffie away from Aerith to let Cid pick up the unconscious woman and carry her into the cafe. A couple of other patrons, including Gepetto and Donald, came over to ask if they could do anything, but no one had any useful ideas until the blonde cafe lady appeared with some smelling salts.
"Aerith?" Yuffie asked as the green-eyed woman started to stir. She was still being cradled in Cid's arms and she seemed confused at first.
"Yuffie? Where am I? Oh..." She pointed over at Vincent as Cid set her down onto a chair. "I'd forgotten until I saw you. I was..."
Aerith looked around to Yuffie, Cid, and the small crowd that had gathered.
"Some of you did know, didn't you? You just didn't tell me that I had died."
"How the fuck do you tell someone that they can't possibly be alive when they're talkin' to you?" Cid asked, finally trying to get himself a much-delayed cigarette.
"Are you okay with it, Aerith?" Vincent asked as he sat down. "I'll assume your very existence has something to do with my partial transformation and perhaps Cloud's, from what I've heard."
"I don't know," Aerith replied as she put her head down on the table across her folded arms. "It's just a bit shocking."
Yuffie sat down next and started stroking Aerith's hair. "What matters is that you're here."
"Um, would ya'll like some menus?" The black-haired waitress had walked up beside Cid, who had yet to sit down.
"That would be best," Vincent replied.
"And some goddamn tea," Cid said before finally taking a seat.
They were all looking over their menus when Bradey came running into the cafe.
"Has anyone seen...," she yelled before stopping short and staring at the nearest table where the object of her hunt was sitting. "Oh."
"Grab a fucking chair and sit," Cid said without turning.
Bradey quickly grabbed a chair and situated herself at the table between Vincent and Yuffie.
"Where'd you go? I was so worried," she said quietly to Vincent as she peered at his menu.
"One of the employees of this establishment brought me here against my will," Vincent explained.
"And you came?"
"I didn't want to put anyone in danger."
"Danger?" Yuffie asked from Bradey's other side.
"If I fight, I may turn further into a monster," Vincent said, eyes downcast.
"You're no fucking monster," Cid said, giving Vincent a friendly thump on the back. He caught the juncture of Vincent's wings, causing the black-haired man to hiss at the odd sensation.
"After all, Cloud has a wing," Yuffie explained, totally missing Cid's wince in response to the noise Vincent made. "But we think it might be because he's a... You aren't a heartless, are you?"
"Yuffie, a heartless wouldn't be having lunch with us," Aerith replied. She finally had a bit of color back in her cheeks, but like many of them had needed to do in the past, she still had much to process and rationalize.
"He's not a heartless," Bradey supplied. "He saved me from them."
Cid raised an eyebrow and looked over at her.
"I can explain, really. See...."
"And that's what happened," Sora explained. "So I'm... I'm going to find him. And Kairi too."
He'd been talking the entire time Leon and Cloud had spent cleaning up and getting dressed. After averting his eyes from the two men following a glare from Leon, Sora had started explaining everything that had occurred while he was gone. He'd skipped anything involving Vincent though. He wanted that to be a surprise.
"Whatever," Leon replied as he pulled on his jacket. Cloud grinned for a moment at Leon before motioning towards the exit.
"Lunch?" he asked.
Leon nodded. "You coming Sora?"
Amazingly, for once, everything seemed to be understood, and accepted.
The three of them walked in silence through the alleyway together on their way to the cafe.
"Cloud hasn't mentioned him," Aerith said after a little thought. "But for him to be with Leon, he must not remember."
"Do we even know this Sephiroth guy is around?" Bradey asked. "Sora said there are a ton of worlds that are already gone."
"Let's hope for the best," Vincent said, picking up his glass and taking a drink.
Five pairs of eyes were almost instantly looking at Sora, who was running towards the cafe. And then they saw Leon and Cloud a short distance behind, both walking their customary distance apart.
"Cloud..." Vincent set down his glass and stood, graceful despite his wings.
Cloud stopped a couple steps later, just about as Sora reached the group's table. Vincent took a step toward him and for a second their eyes met. A burst of recognition flew across Cloud's face, his eyes widening before he let out a scream and grabbed his head, sinking to the ground.
"Not again!" Yuffie yelled, her chair toppling behind her as she jumped from her seat.
"Some fucking effect you have on people," Cid muttered, grinding out his cigarette so he could help a very-confused Leon drag Cloud into the cafe.
"What's going on?" Sora asked, bending over Cloud alongside everyone else. "Cloud?"
"Must you always cause a scene?" It was the black-haired waitress, her hands on her hips as she waved her spatula around threateningly. Then she saw Cloud. "What happened?"
"Vincent," Cloud muttered. He hadn't lost consciousness like Aerith had, but he was shaking a bit. "Do you know?"
"Know what, Cloud?" Vincent knelt down so close that his black hair poured over his shoulders to rest on Cloud's body.
"If what I just remembered it true. Is he still alive?"
"Who?" Leon asked.
"Fuck," Cid replied.
"We don't know if he is or not," Vincent replied. "But it doesn't matter, if you're happy here."
Cloud opened his eyes, skeptical.
"How did you get here?" he asked, waiting until Vincent moved before getting to his feet.
"Sit the fuck down," Cid replied, pointing to a chair.
"Would someone tell me what's going on?" Leon asked as he tried to remain calm. He'd managed to figure out that this had something to do with the lost lover Cloud had skirted around going into detail about. If that man was alive, would Cloud leave him? And who was the odd man with the... wings?
Yuffie managed a smile and attempted introductions. "Leon, meet Vincent, one of our friends. And Vincent, this is Leon, um, one of our friends!"
Vincent just nodded in Leon's direction as he closely watched Cloud, who was now sitting, dazed.
"Why now?" Cloud asked slowly. "I didn't want to remember. I didn't remember..."
"Cloud!" Bradey surprised everyone by slamming her hand down on the table. "I've been listening to everyone tell me about your messed up life and guess what, it's a non-issue. Deal with it if it comes up. Until then, don't worry about it."
Cloud glared at Bradey a moment before nodding and looking around at everyone, his eyes finally resting on Leon.
"Okay, so since everyone's here, can I tell you about the tournament?" Sora asked after a very long moment of silence and awkward glances. "It's in three days."
"That may be a good idea," Aerith said, looking around at everyone and seeing no one disagreeing, at least.
"You okay?" Cloud whispered to Leon, who was sitting beside him.
"Are you?" Leon replied.
"I asked first."
"I'll take that as a 'Yes'," Cloud replied softly as he reached to run his fingers through Leon's hair. Normally Leon hated any sort of public displays of affection, but he didn't knock Cloud's fingers away. "I just..."
"I think we all do," Leon said before Cloud could finish.
"So is everybody going to enter?" Sora asked. Both men looked over at him. They'd missed the explanation, but they'd heard him talk about this tournament and others before. And Cloud had fought in a couple already. It was nothing new.
"I will," Aerith declared, much to everyone's amazement.
"Me too," Yuffie said, smiling.
"I need to go back anyway," Cloud said after a moment.
Everyone turned to look at Leon.
"I'm... going with you. So I may as well compete," he said, not looking at anyone but Cloud as he spoke.
"I'm not really a fighter," Bradey announced. "But if Cid will let me, I'd like to go and watch."
Everyone besides Cloud and Leon turned to stare at Cid.
"I could use a good fuckin' laugh too," Cid replied.
"I would like to watch as well," Vincent said.
"Can we go?" It was the blonde cafe lady. No one had noticed both her and the black-haired waitress sneaking up on the table. The cafe had been empty for quite some time, as Sora's friends and the whale refugees had headed back to the hotel to rest. Leon had once entertained the notion that the women teleported, but that was just too ridiculous to be true.
"No!" Everyone answered in near unison, besides Cloud and Leon. They were busy.
Once everyone had eaten and plans were made to depart for the Coliseum, everyone went their separate ways. Sora headed to the hotel to meet up with his friends and give them the potions from Aerith. Leon had promised Sora to help Gepetto find a house, so he and Cloud were on their way to a vacant building Leon was sure would be salvageable into living quarters. Aerith and Yuffie were running, hand and hand, towards the triplets' shop in order to look at weapons. And Cid and Vincent walked back to Cid's shop to try to find some space for Vincent to stay. Bradey had claimed Cloud's spot on the floor until she could afford the deposit on an apartment, so Cid had volunteered his own space for his friend.
Three days later, three ships left Traverse Town. One carried the adventurers and their supplies, as they wouldn't be returning to Traverse Town right away. The next was Cloud's small ship, which had just Cloud as the pilot and Leon as the navigator. The last was Cid's ship and carried everyone else, albeit a bit tightly.
No one was sure quite what to expect once they arrived, but surely something interesting was bound to happen.
Drink Lemonade! Tip Your Waitress!