The next five giftfics!
Not that I particularly mind, but after doing these past couple of prompts, I’ve become highly suspicious that people are using this as a way to make me write sequels. (What I get for never writing sequels I guess.)
Fandom: The World Ends With You
Prompt: It's cruel to be kind
His proxy keeps darting glances at him from the corner of his eyes as Joshua talks and laughs with his friends. None of the others know who he is, of course – a little memory tweak took care of that. So Shiki smiles at him, Eri enthuses over his sense of fashion, and Beat and Rhyme drag him along with everyone else to Sunshine Burger.
Neku doesn’t say anything when he first sees him. He doesn’t say anything when Joshua slides their fingers together under the table, or pays for his burger, or switches off his phone in favour of the conversation. He waits until the group breaks up and go their separate ways at Hachiko, cheerfully making plans to meet up again next week.
Joshua leans against the statue of the dog, the picture of patience. Neku’s a lot like Hachiko, he thinks – loyally waiting for him in the cold and rain, even though his partner is long dead and there is no shortage of new friends waiting to take him in.
It doesn’t take long – the minute the others are out of sight, Neku grasps his wrist and tugs him along with strength that shouldn’t be possible for such slender wrists and thin arms. They don’t stop until they’re almost at Udagawa, and the street is empty, and Joshua recognises what this is.
A test. Like an abused child deliberately pushing the boundaries, feeling their way, looking for the snapping point.
Joshua has always cheated at tests.
He pushes the Composer into an alley, against a wall coloured red and black with graffiti. “What do you think you’re playing at?” His voice is husky, low, accusing.
“What do you mean, Neku?” he purrs. “Isn’t this what you wanted?” He rewards his proxy with a gentle smile – lacking the casual superiority and mocking tilt it normally carries.
“I know you. I know how you work.” He folds his arms and glares at him. That’s something new. The Neku from the Game never would have met his eyes – he would have glared at the street, at his shoes, at his phone, at the sky. Joshua lets out a hum, and raises a hand to caress his cheek. It’s warm under his touch. Fragile. Human.
“Maybe you just convinced me,” he says. “Is that so hard to believe? We were partners for a week, after all.”
“Don’t do this,” Neku says – blue soulful eyes boring into him. Begging, though the boy is too proud to beg with words. Broken and bitter, shattered and put together stronger than before, but the seams look like crevasses on his soul.
“Don’t do what, Neku?” He cards a gentle hand through the spiky orange locks. The boy unconsciously leans into the touch.
“Don’t make me hope.”
Neku knows him better than anyone else after all.
Fandom: Final Fantasy VII
Prompt: AU Second grade teacher Mr. Fair understood perfectly how important it was for parents to be involved in their childen's school activities. This was why he sent all those letters home with the kids, asking for volunteers to help with this year's Christmas play. When Denzel said his Dad was going to help, he thought that meant his adopt-o-mom Tifa Lockheart had gotten married. He did NOT think that meant he'd be meeting Miss Lockheart's babelicious "gay boyfriend." Oh what a play this will be. . .
“So Denzel,” Zack said carefully. “This is your Dad?”
He was not staring. He was just… surprised. Tifa was a beautiful lady to be sure, but he hadn’t expected to her to bag someone… well, someone like this.
The kid nodded proudly, fluffy brown locks flopping around his face with the vigorous motion. He tugged on the man’s arm, dragging him forward to meet his favourite teacher. “Cloud, this is Mr Fair.”
Cloud. Weird name, but he’d heard stranger come through his class. Suited him, with sky-blue eyes like that, and hair the colour of sunshine.
Oh yes, he had it bad. This sucked. Why did all the pretty ones have to be straight as arrows?
“So,” he said conversationally. “I didn’t realise Miss Lockhart got married.”
The blond’s icy blue glare could freeze naked flames. Zack shivered, and tried to pretend he wasn’t turned on by it. Tifa ran martial arts classes. Her punches hurt.
Then Zack’s brain rewound. What?
“Cloud is Mom’s gay boyfriend,” Denzel explained matter-of-factly.
“Denzel.” The blond spoke for the first time. His voice was like dry carpet – low, soft, not quite coarse from disuse, but with pleasantly rough texture to it.
The kid just gave his adopt-a-dad a cheeky grin, and scampered off to join the other kids.
“So how does that work?” Zack asked, hoping he didn’t sound as giddy as he felt. Don’t mess this up, Fair.
Cloud shrugged, watching the boy chat with his friends. “Tifa and I grew up together. I’m away a lot, but I stay with her and the kids when I’m in town.” He didn’t volunteer any more information than that.
“It was nice of you to offer to help out,” he said. Bright smile, Zack, he coached himself. Don’t flirt too obviously in front of the children.
Another shrug. Cloud looked away, the faintest of blushes dusting his cheeks. It was maybe the most adorable thing Zack had ever seen, up to and including that litter of wolf pups playing at the zoo.
He smoothed back his black spikes. This would be a tough one. Probably bullied by Tifa – and Denzel, too, if the hero-worship in his eyes was anything to go by - to help with the kids’ Christmas play. He offered up a silent prayer of thanks to the terrifying mistress of the local dojo for giving him this opportunity.
“What can I do?” Cloud asked.
“Huh?” he asked, a tad too brightly. His thoughts had wandered there.
Cloud looked at him like he was brain-damaged. “For the play.”
Right! The play!
Would you like the play the angel?
Fortunately, he managed to bite down on that one before it could escape.
“I’m sure we can find something,” he said. “Come on, let’s go see what we’ll need for backstage.”
This was going to be the most fun he had putting on the annual Christmas play ever.
Fandom: FFVII, Fifth Act universe
Prompt: Misadventures while trying to save Yuffie. Ohhh...and can you throw in Cloud being aghast when Chibi!Cloud quotes 'Loveless', and Genesis is all smug and stuff still b/c Chibi!Cloud worships him and not Sephiroth?
(AN: I am impressed that you stayed good to your word and actually clung on to this prompt long enough for drabble time to come around.)
Coeurls were notoriously lazy monsters – the only time you’d have to deal with one was if you were unlucky enough to stumble right on top of it. And even then, the long-whiskered leopards rarely bothered getting up - they would simply hurl ridiculously powerful spells at you until you either died or ran away – whichever came first.
Yuffie, of course, somehow managed to get half a dozen on their feet and chasing them.
A mass of icy spears burst near his elbow. Cloud cast a Barrier with scarcely a thought, turning to the side to shield the girl in his grasp. Frost peppered his back. He flung a Bolt3 behind them, and was rewarded with angry yowls echoing off the cavern walls.
“Ha! Take that, you big stupid cat!” Yuffie crowed, as though she were the one who lobbed the spell. She wriggled out of his hold, scampering back towards the coeurls with shuriken in hand. Cloud snatched her by the back of her shirt and hauled her out of the path of a blistering fireball.
“Hey! Lemme go! You big coward! A great ninja master doesn’t run away!”
His barrier shuddered under a barrage of lightning and ice. The air shimmered as the spell renewed. Cloud caught a flash of red out the corner of his eyes. “Thanks.”
Genesis waved a distracted hand in response. “The little nuisance has a point, Cloud. They do not appear to be giving up.” With a look of irritation, he swept his hand in an arc, sending out a blazing wall of fire. Materia wasn’t much good against a coeurl pelt, but it slowed them down. To deal any real damage, they needed to switch to swords.
Normally, it wouldn’t be a problem. Except…
His eyes flicked to their two charges.
They would have to be fast. A barrier would only hold up a few seconds under this barrage without maintenance.
A quick shared glance with Genesis showed they were thinking along the same lines. Cloud tossed the ninja girl in his grasp at his younger self. Yuffie shrieked as she sailed through the air – the blond boy didn’t catch her so much as cushion her fall. As they tumbled to the ground, Cloud threw the strongest Barrier he could over them and split his sword.
The two SOLDIERs were upon the coeurls in an instant, diving through the hail of fire and ice and lighting, blades flashing.
The maelstrom of magic died amidst pained snarls and singing steel. Cloud flicked the blood off First Tsurugi and reattached his weapon, slinging in back into its holster as the dust settled.
Genesis swept his hair out of his eyes and let out of a huff. “So tell me, Cloud. Is it like this every time?”
“Worse, actually.” That time with the tonberries had him worried for a while. Tonberries held grudges.
The kids untangled themselves, and Yuffie scrambled towards him, only to skid to a halt half a metre away, eyes round as a pair of ahrimans. “You! Thief! Invader! Monster!”
Genesis’s SOLDIER reflexes were all that saved him from the first round of shuriken. “Excuse me?” He threw out a hand to hold back the girl as she rushed him, feet and fists flailing.
“Stop it!” Cloud’s younger self chastised the barely-eleven-year-old girl. “What are you doing? He just saved you!”
“Not my problem! I could have totally handled it on my own!”
The small blond gave her a dubious look. Cloud sighed, walked over, and started dragging Yuffie along by her wrist. “We have to get out of the caves. There’s more than just coeurls in here.”
Genesis followed after him, mumbling about troublesome brats under his breath. His younger self quietly shadowed them. Cloud hadn’t really wanted to bring him along – he always experienced a weird sense of disconnect in his pretend-nephew’s presence – but they’d been curious about these excursions, and it soon became easier to simply agree before he had half of SOLDIER trying to follow him out of Midgar.
“Traitor!” Yuffie hollered at him. “Let me at him! I’ll kick his ass!”
“I’d like to see you try, little girl,” Genesis snarled.
Although Cloud was beginning to consider bringing Genesis on all of his missions to retrieve Yuffie from now on. After all, why would Yuffie spend her time constantly trying to kick and punch and bite him when the SOLDIER accredited with the subjugation of Wutai was right there?
“You big jerk! I’m a mighty ninja warrior! You have no chance against me! Hiya!” She kicked the air, held just out of reach by Cloud’s grip on her wrist.
His ‘nephew’ simply couldn’t let the threats to his idol slide. “Are you stupid? He could fry you in an instant. What can a kid like you do against a SOLDIER First Class?”
“You’re the kid,” she retorted haughtily. “I took care of all of those nasty monsters, while you just sat back and were protected.” She punched the air a few times in victory, then stumbled after Cloud as she ran out of slack.
The comments hit their mark – his young doppelganger turned an embarrassed red. “You didn’t do anything! It was all Uncle Cloud and Commander Rhapsodos! I just know better than to get in the way.”
Cloud had never been so happy to see sunlight. They left the caves to emerge onto the much safer and more hospitable grassy plains, even as the two kids continued bickering. He’d really hoped that by now his younger self would have moved past the stage of always taking the bait. It was getting embarrassing.
“Minerva help us, I need to kill something,” Genesis grumbled under his breath. “Remind me again why you need to keep saving the little razor weed?”
“She was a friend,” Cloud said, and didn’t offer any further explanation.
“…That’s the stupidest thing I ever heard!” Yuffie taunted. They were still going at it.
“It’s not stupid! You just don’t get it. Infinite in mystery is the gift of the goddess
We seek it thus, and take to the sky,” the teen quoted authoritatively.
Cloud abruptly turned to stare at his younger self, aghast. Loveless? He’d heard the others talking about the little ‘mini-Genesis’ blooming in their midst, but it was entirely different to hear it for himself.
Genesis, on the other hand, looked delighted.
Yuffie, ever the opportunist, took advantage of his horrified distraction, and bit down on his hand.
Startled, he let go. The child dashed away from him quick as a needlebird. “Yuffie!”
The Wutai Princess just stuck her tongue out at them, and disappeared into the long grass.
“Shall I set her on fire for you?” Genesis asked, amused.
“Forget it,” he muttered, rubbing the teeth marks out of his gloves. “We’re far enough from the caves now.” He was much more concerned with getting his younger self back home, out from under Genesis’s influence for a while. He’d never been that bad when it had been Sephiroth, had he?
“You’re letting her go?” his young doppelganger asked. “After all that?”
“She’ll be fine.” For a while, anyway.
“You truly knew her in your future?” Genesis asked, in a voice low enough for only Cloud to hear. “How could she possibly have survived that long?”
“Spite,” he muttered, and stalked back towards where they’d left the chocobos.
For two whole minutes, they walked in peaceful silence. Then the mandragoras sprouted from the grasses and rushed them, chittering angrily as they waved their vines in the air.
They were nothing after the coeurls. Cloud reached for his sword, and dispatched them in quick order. When he looked back, though, he was surprised to see Genesis hadn’t joined him, and instead seemed to be frantically searching through his jacket while indulging in an impressively creative streak of swearing.
“I don’t believe it! I’m going to kill her! That damn brat stole my materia!”
His younger self might have started spouting Loveless, but Cloud took comfort in the fact that no matter the timeline, some things never changed.
Prompt: The continuation of that fic where Ryoma is thrown out of house and and home by his father (AN: The Dispossession of Echizen Ryoma). Now Ryoma is old enough to know that he want!want Tezuka and... eeeeeeehehe, you can choose how Tezuka reacts to Ryoma's maybe not so subtle seduction techniques.
After all of these years, Inoue was still following them around, having moved from the somewhat small Tennis Monthly magazine to a larger, bi-weekly magazine that dealt primarily with professional tennis. When they asked him about it, the reporter having become a familiar face over the years, he'd simply stated that he was just progressing in his journalistic career. Privately, Tezuka thought it was a little more like he was stalking them.
As a result, they were currently sitting in a diner where the reporter was treating them to lunch. Both tennis players knew that he was likely to spend the entire time digging for information, so ordered the most expensive things on the menu. They might have known Inoue long enough that they felt obliged to give him more respect than the average reporter, but neither pro enjoyed dealing with the press.
"It's something special for a reporter, you see, having had the privilege of watching the current best start out as far back as their middle school tournaments. Even then, watching your matches was something else."
Tezuka already knew it was going to be up to him to be the polite one. "Thank you."
“Still so remarkable, that you’re both so young and yet on the pro circuit… a twenty year old and a seventeen year old…”
“Nearly eighteen,” Echizen interrupted, somewhat petulantly.
“Right, nearly eighteen,” Inoue amended without missing a beat. "Though I have to say, it continually surprises me that you two, who are such vicious rivals on the court, would be living together."
"It was convenient. And it also means we can have a match whenever we want," Ryoma dismissed.
“Right.” Inoue made a jot on his notepad. That quote would no doubt turn up later. "I do have one question that I'm sure many tennis fans around the world are dying to know. You can choose if you want this one on the record or off the record - by now I'm sure you know I will respect your wishes. But if for nothing else other than to satisfy my own curiosity, why is it that neither of you will play Nanjiroh Echizen?"
Tezuka and Echizen exchanged a glance. It wasn't the first time they'd been asked this question, of course, but it was the first time that Inoue had asked, strangely enough. The reporter had avoided it for some reason, almost as though he were afraid of the answer.
“I don’t understand it,” he continued when they didn’t respond. “Years ago, you said you were playing tennis to defeat your father.”
"That's not why I play tennis anymore. Now I play tennis to defeat Tezuka."
Inoue blinked at that. "But you've defeated him plenty of times."
"Sure, but he keeps catching back up. That's what makes him a good rival. What kind of rival would he be if I could defeat him once and that was the end of it?"
"Well, while that is interesting... that still doesn't really answer my original question."
Tezuka and Echizen exchanged a glance again, though in Tezuka's case the glance meant entirely that it was not his story to tell. Inoue seemed to pick up on that too, and so focused his attention on the younger of the two immediately.
No one spoke as Ryoma stared at the table, obviously having an inner battle with himself, though there was no change in his expression or posture to indicate so.
Finally, the young pro stated, "Sure, Inoue. I'll tell you my reasons. You can even print them if you like. I'd like the old man to know."
They arrived back at the hotel that night in silence.
“Are you okay?” Tezuka asked, slanting a concerned eye at his companion. His friend and rival was a strong individual, but he knew that there were still areas, even some five years later, that upset the other boy and rattled his composure.
For a second, he didn’t think he’d get an answer, but after a moment, Ryoma let out a whoosh of breath and muttered, “Yeah. It’s just… it’s all irrelevant now, but sometimes…”
Tezuka carefully placed a comforting arm around his shoulders. “It is understandable. It was difficult for you for a long time. It’s not so easy to forgive and forget.”
“Never forgive,” Ryoma muttered. Then, “I’m going to go have a bath.”
He disappeared into the bathroom. Probably for the best – baths always calmed Ryoma down, better than Tezuka could hope to. He flicked on the cheap TV to dull the sounds of the splashing water, and fished a book out of his bag to leaf through. He reclined on the bed. The springs creaked protestingly.
The younger tennis pro, despite his quickly accumulating wealth, remained an obsessive spendthrift. Which was why they always wound up sharing a room in the cheapest hotel with a tennis court within an hour of the tournament venue. Tezuka didn’t particularly mind. He’d grown used to sharing with Ryoma, after all, and it meant he could be there when something like this happened.
The taps shrieked as they turned off, and Tezuka set his book aside to collect his towel and nightclothes. Steam poured from the bathroom as Ryoma emerged, skin flush from the hot water and wrapped in a white bathrobe. He towelled his hair dry into a dishevelled mess and tossed the damp cloth onto his bed when done.
“Are you finished with the bathroom?” Tezuka asked, fishing out his toiletries bag.
He turned, and nearly recoiled when he realised Ryoma stood directly behind him. He hadn’t heard the younger pro move.
“Buchou,” Ryoma breathed again, and Tezuka stumbled as the younger pro suddenly tugged him down and dragged him into a passionate kiss.
After a long moment, Tezuka tried to pull away, but Ryoma held on stubbornly for another twenty seconds. The elder pro obliged him, but as soon as they broke for breath, he placed his hands on the other teen’s shoulders and stated seriously, “Ryoma, we’ve been through this before. You don’t owe me anything. Especially not anymore.” It seemed to come up about once a year where Ryoma would go through a fit of insecurity and then try this stunt again – no doubt Inoue’s fault, this time. It was worrisome, really. His companion had become better at accepting help gracefully, but couldn’t quite seem to shake the habit of always trying to make things even.
“I’m not. It’s… I…” Ryoma seemed to be stumbling over his words. It was a rare occurrence.
Tezuka just raised an eyebrow and waited patiently as the younger pro pulled himself together.
He didn’t expect Ryoma to suddenly launch himself at him and push him down onto the bed.
His breath jumped from his lungs, and the springs squeaked angrily. “Ryoma!”
“You won’t listen,” he hissed. “I’m asking…” Giving up on searching for the words, he simply pressed their bodies together.
Through the soft bathrobe, Tezuka couldn’t ignore the evidence pressing against his stomach. He froze up, thoughts stuttering to an incoherent halt.
“I know it’s selfish of me,” Ryoma mumbled. “You’ve already done too much for me.” He looked at him, eyes half lidded and almost golden in the orange lamplight. “But you’re so damn stubborn.”
Tezuka blinked repeatedly, not quite certain of what he was hearing. “You’re asking…”
“I’m not a kid anymore. I’m sick of waiting. I know what I want. And I know what you want, too.” He tugged the cloth holding the bathrobe closed free and tossed it to the other bed. Tezuka’s eyes couldn’t help but wander along the sinuous curve of his bare shoulders; across the pale, creamy skin stretched across his stomach; at the tufts of dark hair feathering the side of his face.
The temptation was dizzying.
What he wanted.
What Ryoma wanted. Not a misguided sense of reparation. Not pride. A simple desire.
Ryoma had asked exactly three things of him before in his life. The first was to participate in the Junior Invitational Tournament. The second was a match before the American Open. The third was to keep his secret after he’d been kicked out of home. Everything else had simply been Tezuka identifying what his friend and teammate needed, and providing.
The moment stretched.
He should have thought of Ryoma as a brother, if anything. They’d been living together for years now, first in his parent’s house, and then on tour. But Tezuka demanded honesty from himself as stringently as he expected it from everyone else. And thanks to that awkward encounter so many years ago, he’d come to realisations about his own preferences and desires long before any of his other peers.
He raised his hand, tennis-calloused fingers softly tracing the younger pro’s cheek. Warm under his touch. Real.
His mouth felt dry. “You’re sure?”
Ryoma looked down, but Tezuka could see the blush creeping up his cheeks regardless. “Che. How much more sure do I have to be?”
That time, when Ryoma leant down to kiss him, Tezuka didn’t pull away.
Characters: Seph, Cloud
Prompt: The Fifth Act AU - If the time materia sent Cloud back juuuust a bit further...
(AN: Since your first one got muddled... and I’m pretty sure this wasn’t actually what you had in mind for this one either, but you said ‘juuuuuuust’ a bit further… :P)
“That’s him?” Genesis asked. “That’s the man who killed Sephiroth?”
At first glance, he didn’t look like much. The sword was amazing, certainly – word of that got around fast after the first couple of SOLDIERs were caught unawares and paid for it. But he was short, lithe, and if it weren’t for the eerily bright blue mako eyes, he would never have given the man a second glance.
Yet this blond stranger had appeared out of nowhere and turned the entire world upside down.
This man had stolen his rival from him.
The two First Classes circled him, air filled with the flash of materia. Each burst of magic dissolved against a shimmering barrier, turning firestorms to embers and thunder strikes to harmless sparks. They turned to Status materia, but sleep, stop, confuse - they all slid off him like water.
They dashed in with swords – perfectly synchronised in their attacks. Veterans.
A whoosh of steel, and they too fell to the ground, torn and bloodied.
They were so cold, those blue eyes. Closed. A soul corrupted by vengeance.
“A monster,” Genesis breathed.
He and Angeal were only Second Class. Teenagers, chasing dreams of glory. Sephiroth had been promoted to First mere days before the emergency call to Nibelheim. Hojo had been assassinated in his lab. The Nibelheim reactor had been shut down. ShinRa sent the best they had available.
Word was, the battle lasted less than a minute.
Less than a minute against the boy he and Angeal still hadn’t managed to defeat together in sparring practice. And now never would.
The stranger spoke for the first time. “I’m not interested in fighting you. I’ve already done what I needed to do.” His voice was low, heavy. Tired.
Even as he spoke, though, it was clear to everyone that this could not slide. ShinRa would never allow it. Their pride as SOLDIERs would never allow it.
Angeal stood next to him, and raised his Buster. “For honour,” he said, “And the dreams of our fallen comrades.”
They readied their swords, and prepared to die.