TIMELINE: The scene around the start of FF XV/15 where Noctis was talking to the cat. And a little after Advent Children. Cloud is the cat!
It was safe to say that Cloud refused to listen to Reno ever again in regards to a magic-user tampering with the Lifestream. It'd ended painfully for the blonde and he had no idea whether they'd even taken down the being thanks to that damn redhead pissing off the woman, who for some unknown reason turned her attack to HIM rather than that idiot.
And after that attack, Cloud had found himself in some unknown place, drastically shorter than he had previously been while unable to stand on two legs. Not only that, but he couldn't speak to convey how frustrating his situation had become upon returning to consciousness... in the form a small creamy blonde cat.
That redhead would die by his hands if he ever saw him again. If he couldn't kill him in human form then he would damn well try to scratch his eyes out in this one.
He'd avoided as many people as possible while wandering around on his four legs, having had difficulty at first when trying to walk, but after a few hours, he'd gotten the hang of the appearance without much hassle, having trained himself through the pain-in-the-ass situation. It'd taken that long just to figure out how to run and climb so that he could actually avoid the excited petting that kids and woman thought he would enjoy.
Sighing softly, he tiredly and exasperatedly curled up further on the wooden dock he had appeared close to upon arriving, lying casually while enjoying the warmth of the sun on his irritatingly smaller body. The circumstance felt almost as if his world were playing a prank on him, teasing and taunting him for something he did that he couldn't recall. It hadn't been at all funny and this form made it hard to sustain himself. Water, he hadn't had that much of an issue finding. Food on the other hand...
Heavy footsteps drew him from his unhelpful thoughts, each thump vibrating the boards he lay on until they stopped only a couple of feet away.
"Hey, buddy," lifting his smaller and fluffy head, bright blue, Mako eyes met a darker blue pair, much softer in appearance and framed by black, almost a darker shade of silver, velvety bangs, "What's up? Taking a little stroll?" the stranger asked, Cloud not feeling the need to move after tiring himself out that day by running around. He simply stared up at him, his tail absentmindedly swaying along the wooden boards behind him, "How come you're all alone?" being instantly reminded of that idiot, he meowed lightly, a sort of soft grumble.
"You must be hungry," not that he had actually said anything or did anything that indicated towards that, the thought hadn't been unwelcomed, drawing another, gentler, meow from him, his stomach gurgling some, "Yeah, that's what I thought," the man chuckled softly, the feline watching interestedly as he moved to a crouch, ready to stand, "Hold on a sec, I'll find you something," the stranger with the tender smile informed, Cloud feeling a tad thrown by the kindness. And it hadn't been at all in favour of petting him, a sort of 'I'll get you this if you let me pet you' kind of scenario.
"Guys, gotta come up with some cat food," the raven-haired man mentioned to his group as he stood to full height, the soldier then noticing the three others behind him, having watched the interaction unfold.
"Could always buy some," the incredibly large, deep-voiced man suggested casually, seemingly disinterested by the urge to get him something to eat but willing to go along with it.
"Or we could fish for some," the smallest and gangliest of the four spoke up, his tone having a hint of 'I really want to do this' slipping into it.
"Excellent idea, let's go," the accent had him pausing, Cloud immediately picking up on it the moment he'd spoken. It'd drawn his attention and the soldier simply watched him for a few long, lingering seconds.
Cloud had only stopped when he'd noticed the four lining up along the railings of the dock, the ravenette being careful to not step on him as he stood alongside his comrades. Eyeing them in curiosity, it'd only then dawned on him that they were, in fact, fishing, it being affirmed when fishing rods appeared out of thin air, materializing in hand.
Staring in utter surprise and pure interest, he gradually raised from where he had been lying, turning around and gracefully vaulting up onto the upper half of the railing beside the one that had first greeted him.
"Looks like you made a friend, Noct," the blonde of the four cheered, a sort of childish air about him reminding Cloud of Yuffie but only a few years older in mental age.
"Hi there," Noct smiled softly at him while the feline stood with perfect balance, slinking just slightly closer to the strangers with his eyes on the grip of the rod in the ravenette's hands. He lowered himself, body stable on the fencing as he relaxed there.
As kind as they were for attempting to fish him some food, his focus was on the abilities he had just witnessed, how the tools appeared from nothing. Though his stomach decided to attempt a redirection of his attention, grumbling in hunger and drawing a chuckle from the young man.
"We're trying," he reassured, Clouds' eyes flicking upwards towards the gentle yet striking face just in time to see the hand reaching out, the soldier having to bear with the fingers that brushed and scruffed the fur on his head and neck, his ears evening out slightly in a sort of flat stare kind of expression.
"Is it just me or does he seem grumpy to you?" the deep-voiced man spoke up, Cloud noting the stare he received from him, almost glaring back like the soldier cat was giving it to him directly. It was almost amusing.
"Aren't all cats like that? It's why I'm a dog person," the blonde countered and somewhat boasted as he began reeling in something that had caught his line only to lose it as fast as it'd got caught.
"Maybe he's just that hungry," the stranger closest to him voiced, the hand lowering to his cheek and chin where a finger scratched some, "Are you?" he'd been about to humour them by meowing but it'd been cut short of being sounded by a sudden vibration bubbling in his throat, Cloud absentmindedly leaning against the finger rubbing his chin and neck.
He only then realized that he was PURRING while being petted.
A soft and deep meow slurring through his bubbling throat, Cloud's eyes closed as the hand dug in some, massaging his skin and turning the soldiers mind foggy with this weird feline high. He went as far as to push back against the hand, tilting his head the other way so that the other side got the same treatment.
"I got something!" that same deep voice spoke up, a tad louder and drawing all attention. The soldier's ears perked at the call-out, disappointment begrudgingly evident as the hand paused in what it'd been doing. Though thankfully, that meant he could have his concentration returned to him and stop with the purring. He wasn't really a cat! Despite his current appearance!
Watching as the large man reeled in whatever had gotten caught on his fishing rod, Cloud felt anticipation, the three others seeming to be just as fixated as they focused on him as well. The excitement grew between each of them, some laughter coming from the giant of the group as it got closer and closer and was eventually lifted from the water, being swiftly drawn up above the railings.
"Look at this guy!" the darker man cheered, pulling it up over onto the dock so that it wouldn't land in the water if it came loose from its wiggling and squirming. Regardless of it not being cooked, Cloud was legitimately alright with it, wanting to finally fill his grumbling, empty stomach.
"That'll keep him from going hungry, huh!?" the blonde of the group beam, heavily dropping against the railing and unintentionally shaking it from the weight-. The impact abruptly threw his stability out the window, Cloud's balance tipping drastically!
He shook on the fence and toppled to the side with the water, 'Shit!' snapping from his lips in a sharp mewl as he saw the water coming fast as he fell. His eyes snapped shut and he waited, fully aware that he couldn't swim in this form, he hadn't even tried yet! Nor had he considered attempting!
"I got you!" he heard just as he'd felt something wrap around his upper mid-section, sturdy and warm with a solid hold on him. His eyes blinking open after realizing that he wasn't falling anymore, he glanced down as he was being lifted between the railings, noting the strong hands holding him.
"Crap! I'm sorry!" the blonde whined from somewhere behind him as he was cuddled back against a warm chest, Cloud glancing up as he was cradled to see the ravenette, Noct, had caught him. He was being gazed at and comforted, the hand that wasn't under him threading through the fur of his face, neck and chest. And there came that intoxicating massage again, the soldier leaning into the touch.
"You okay, little guy?" the man cooed, a small, soft smile spreading over his tender features. He meowed automatically, having not really thought about it and continued to enjoy the petting. He debated on taking back what he had originally thought about petting, but considered that maybe it just depended on which hands that he let touch him. Because these ones he didn't mind at all.
"He's not hurt, is he?" at the all too familiar voice, Cloud snapped his head around to stare over the ravenettes' shoulder, eyes narrowing to a glare when he the redhead he currently wanted to murder.
"Who're you?" the one holding him asked calmly, the soldier noting that everyone's attention was on the Turk, though the redhead didn't seem all that bothered by the stares.
"My name's Reno," he greeted with a smirk, coming off as friendly as he possibly could, but then Cloud could see his nervous discomfort itching at the base-layer of skin under that loose and informally worn suit, "And that bundle of evil you're cuddling-," he gestured to the soldier, "-is Cloud. I've been looking after him for a friend," the man lied, making it sound otherwise all too easily.
"Cloud, huh?" the man holding him had decided to focus on his name rather than anything else that had been said, the blonde glancing up at him as the ravenette glanced down, going about petting him again and even drawing more deep purrs from him, "Doesn't seem so evil to me,"
"Trust me, given the chance of being human, he'd try to kill me," and wasn't that the truth, "I'd ask if you want him, but I'm pretty sure that the lady that owns him would kill me to death if she found out I handed him off to someone," if he were referring to Tifa, then he would be completely correct in that statement.
"Prompto, mind getting a paper plate for the fish?" the biggest guy requested, the other blonde bouncing away rather animatedly to go and get what was asked. Cloud was still getting his treatment, far more relaxed than he'd been in a long time.
"Fish?" Reno asked with a red brow quirked, seeming lost on what was going on. Not surprising, since he hadn't been around until then. He'd give him an earful after he scratched his eyes out.
"Yeah, he was hungry. Haven't you fed him?" Noct spoke up, still rubbing his fingers through his incredibly soft and silky chest fur, Clouds' arms spread so that his fingers could roam and massage.
"He had breakfast," he couldn't finish all of it because of the idiots' insistence that they get the job done before Rufus got irritated. He'd been planning to eat when he returned.
"Here," lazily opening his Mako blue eyes, Cloud saw the other blonde return with a plate and a smile, holding it out to the larger man. Said stranger put the fish on the plate, unhooking it from his line before he reached over and set it on the ground ahead of the man holding him, who gradually lowered to a kneel.
"Here you go, buddy," he cooed as he set him down on all fours, brushing his fingers and palm along his lean and soft body. Although disappointed by the lack of petting, the soldier sniffed at the fish and swiftly began nibbling at it, ignoring the fact that it was raw fish and he hadn't actually been a fan of sushi before.
"Cloud suits you," the ravenette comment from above him, still kneeling over him and Cloud gave a sort of meow with a mouthful, attempting to show that he had heard him.
"We should get going, that reporter is probably gettin' antsy," the one with the accent muttered, reminding the group by the tone he had used. More disappointment ebbed at him after noting that they would be leaving him alone.
"Yeah," it wasn't only him that was dissatisfied, the black-haired stranger sounded the same, "See ya around," the man muttered with a clear pout to his tone as he brushed his body a few more times, Cloud lifting his head from the fish to gaze up at him as the man stood and reluctantly stepped away.
"Later, kitty!" the blonde kid waved comically as the group gradually left them, he and the redhead watching them until they were out of earshot.
"Before you say anything!-" the Turk snapped in a whisper, suddenly crouched directly in front of him, "-I didn't actually expect her to attack you when I pissed her off," he growled quietly, the two sharing a scowl before Cloud literally hissed at him in an exaggerated catlike manner, "Don't you hiss at me!"
Noctis: You were the cat the whole time?!
Cloud: Blame this idiot!
Reno: I said I was sorry!