Little Brothers [Crossover: Kingdom Hearts/Final Fantasy VII, Riku/Kadaj/Yazoo/Loz, PG]
Title: Little Brothers Author: jlsigman Rating: PG Warnings: angst, then cracky fluff Word count: 1, 017 Springkink Prompt: June 23rd - Crossover: Kingdom Hearts/Final Fantasy VII, Riku/Kadaj/Yazoo/Loz: Mistaken identity (or relationship) - Damnit, I'm not your brother!"
Reclaiming the abandoned castle outside of Radiant Garden had been a slow process. It was full of traps, packed with Heartless, and stuffed with the relics of too many different worlds. Cid’s frustrated vote to “just blow the damn thing up” was shot down by the fact that they had no idea what could be released if they did that. So the workers took turns carting away things to Aerith, who worked with Tron to catalog what could be returned and what was part of a world they still hadn’t regained contact with.
One day, a group of workers stumbled across a doorway with an odd symbol on it. They took a picture and showed Cloud, the foreman for the day, who turned pale and stopped breathing for far too long. In a strangled voice he told them to show Cid the picture, and then to go home.
He was standing in front of the door when Cid showed up, carrying a small device that connected to Tron. With him were Leon, Aerith, and the visiting Riku. Cloud thought that the white-haired boy looked too much like someone else for comfort, especially in this place. He flinched as Cid brushed against him, holding up the device to the door.
“Working,” Tron’s voice echoed in the stillness. Leon flexed his grip on his gunblade, and Riku’s Keyblade shined faintly. Aerith smiled reassuringly at Cloud, who couldn’t meet her eyes. “There are records from Ansem’s early reign that show this pattern,” Tron reported, “but the data is corrupted. It seems that several attempts were made to purge the data.”
Cid turned the screen back to face him. “Nothin’ about what might be behind here?”
“Unfortunately, at this time I can only make out a few disconnected segments. There is the word ‘specimen’ several times, but whether it refers to one or many I cannot tell.”
Leon looked to Cloud, who looked like he was in the middle of a nightmare. “What do you remember?” he asked the blond.
“Pain,” Cloud finally answered.
“Open the door.” Cloud and Leon turned to find an unusually stern look on Aerith’s face. It softened as she continued. “Nightmares are less scary when you turn on the lights.”
Cloud paused, then swallowed and nodded. Cid jabbed a code into the keypad by the door, and after much groaning of gears and clucking of lock tumblers, the door swung inwards. There was a pause as Cid and Tron worked to route power to where they were, then the group walked down the corridor towards the only other doorway visible.
The door here was half-torn off its hinges, forcing the group to enter the room beyond one at a time. Leon went through first, and then Riku followed close behind, straining his senses for Darkness. Cloud slowly walked in, eyes still a bit too wide and step still a bit too shaky, and he would not let Cid and Aerith pass until Riku’s nod told him that there was no immediately threat.
They were in an abandoned lab of some kind. Riku listened with half an ear as Tron and Cid argued over various instruments and their possible uses. He had come from Destiny Island because he still didn’t feel at home there anymore, no matter that it had been two full years since he and Sora had stopped Xehanort. He could sympathize with Cloud: some things you just can’t forgive, especially when you only have yourself to blame. Mostly he watched Aerith walk, comparing how it was similar but subtly different from how Kairi walked. This little adventure had been a welcome distraction from everything.
He nearly tripped over a container on the floor. Cursing, he kicked it. He jumped back with a yelp when it responded with a hissing sound, bringing the rest of the group running as some kind of sealing mechanism unlocked itself. The box was only knee-high or so, but the men had their weapons drawn and Aerith had a spell on her lips as the lid slid back. There was a glint of silver, and the sound of small fluttering wings. Three heads slowly appeared, and the tiny trio blinked and tried to focus never-before used eyes.
Aerith drew in a breath, eyes sparkling with delight. Riku’s eyebrows had shot up his forehead and disappeared under white bangs. Cloud and Cid just stared, trying to comprehend the miniature forms slowly taking flight. Leon felt a migraine starting and put his hand to his head, muttering, “Not more of them…”
Three silver-haired, green-eyed boys clumsily hovered on black bat-like wings, looking no bigger than the three girl faeries that still caused mischief around Radiant Garden. The looked confused and wary until they spotted a young man who looked very similar to them. Three faces lit up happily and they zoomed to him, squeaking, “Brother!”
Riku was utterly mortified as Aerith burst into laughter. The three little beings had attached themselves to him in various places: the shortest-haired one had laid a tiny face against his cheek and was squeezing rather powerfully; the longest-haired one was hanging onto his hair beside the face-hugger like a living barrette; the final one had crashed into his chest and was hanging on to his shirt zipper for dear life as it slowly lowered from his weight. All were squeaking, with varying degrees of franticness, the word “Brother!” over and over again.
“Damnit,” Riku said, trying to grab the zipper-puller without crushing his wings. Cid had joined in the laughter, while Cloud looked like he was catching Leon’s migraine. He finally gave up and yelled, “I’m not your brother!”
The effect was immediate. The short haired one pulled away and burst into noisy tears, the long-haired one immediately froze in place, and the third was suddenly at eye level, looking very angry.
Aerith made a clucking noise with her tongue, gently putting her palm under the sobbing boy’s feet. “It’s OK,” she said soothingly, ignoring Cloud and Leon’s frantic head shakings. “We’ll take care of you.”