Title: Vanilla Soufflé 1

Author: Sorceress Fantasia

Pairings: None yet.

Warnings: AU, fluff, humour, OOC-ness

Disclaimer: As much as I would love to lay claim to Cloud, I'm kinda scared of Leon's gunblade. So well, I don't own Kingdom Hearts and its character, and neither do I own the various Final Fantasies and their characters.

Note: This is a series of spin-off drabbles and ficlets meant to explain some events in my other fic Vanilla. Also talks about the minor characters in Vanilla.

Summary: It was just an accidental meeting, but little did Cloud imagine this would set off a chain of events and emotions that would eventually snag him a boyfriend. Cloud and Leon's first conversation in the corridors of Radiant High. Set before Vanilla.

It was crazy.

It was absolutely ridiculous.

How anyone could be so popular as to be mobbed wherever he went was frigging impossible. It defied all logic. But apparently, as Cloud was quickly learning as he saw another mob of girls (with a few boys mixed in) running towards the huge swooning crowd already gathered down the other corridor, logic tended to flee one's head when one was completely head over heels for another.

Sighing, Cloud turned and walked away in the other direction. Those people were blocking his way to the library, damn it! And he had no interest in being squashed against the wall in the crowd, or worse, get mistaken as a fellow worshipper hurrying along the corridor to see their god. He shuddered at that thought of being branded a mindless, swooning idiot.

And it was all that person's fault too!

Squall Leonhart. Genius and sports extraordinaire. Not to mention immensely attractive, as his worshippers had chanted over and over again.

Personally, Cloud couldn't see what was so great about the guy. Apart from his good grades and slick moves in sports, Squall Leonhart didn't seem all that different. Or special. He was just another guy their age. And it wasn't like Cloud was just saying that because he was jealous. Of course not, despite what Yuffie was telling him. He was in the same class as Squall Leonhart for god's sake; he knew what he was like in person. Unlike a good number of people in school, Cloud did have a chance of actually seeing him face to face instead of just hearing about the guy. For people not in their class, however, they actually had the possibility of never seeing Leon personally because his fans mobbed him wherever he went. Basically, they crowded out the corridors.

Inconsiderate bunch of people.

Cloud tried to tune them out and walked up the flight of steps, fully intent on staying in the library where there was peace and solitude. Even Yuffie didn't step foot inside the library much, so there would be hardly a soul bothering him. His mood got considerably better at the idea of spending an afternoon curled up by the couch and digging into a good read.

Excited, he hastened his steps and rounded a corner. He yelped when his face met with someone's chest, and he staggered backwards in a futile attempt to regain his balance. He was saved from befriending the ground in a nasty fall when someone righted him with a forceful tug on his wrists. Cloud sighed in relief.

"Are you alright?"

Cloud blinked. He knew that voice! And that voice belonged to someone who should be downstairs getting mobbed and molested by his fans!

"You… Aren't you downstairs? Your fans, they…"

Leon cracked a faint smile, one that Cloud knew had, on occasions, sent the girls screaming for joy and bouncing like bunnies on drugs. It was not particularly radiant, nor was it very attractive; in fact, it looked more like a smirk than a genuine smile, something that spoke volumes about the other man's arrogance and superiority. But somehow, Leon made that faint smirk look charismatic, and Cloud knew that Leon was one of the few people who could carry that sort of haughty arrogance off with an air of normalcy, making it seem not so arrogant after all.

"Decoy," Leon said simply, if not a little smugly.

And so Cloud got yet another piece of evidence that Leon's fans were a bunch of bumbling idiots, if they couldn't tell an imposter from the real guy. It was so sad he almost wanted to pity them. Almost.

He nodded nonchalantly instead. Well, as nonchalant as he could manage, that was. After all, it was difficult not to be affected in Leon's presence at all. As it was, Cloud was already feeling a little small, and he definitely didn't want to get caught by the other's fans talking to their idol. In severe cases, that could mean a broken limb or two, and in less severe cases (there was nothing that was /not/ severe as long as it concerned Leon, in those people's eyes), it probably meant talking down to him. Cloud had no interest in being treated worse than he already was in school. And it would be even more idiotic if he got snubbed for talking to someone who barely knew of his existence.

"Thanks… thanks for helping me. I should be going now."

Leon nodded and graciously stepped out of his way.

That was when they both heard a string of screams and curses somewhere below them, and then there was a stampede of footsteps and angry hollers, all directed towards the poor sod who had deceived them. There were no other explanations: Leon's decoy had been discovered.

Cloud knew he should ignore what was going on and just slink quietly to the library. Whatever was happening didn't concern him in the least. There was no point getting himself into what could potentially be a very troublesome matter. But apparently, his mouth acted way faster than his legs, for before he knew it, the words had already stumbled out of his lips.

"You could erm, hide in the library?"

When Leon fixed him with a surprised look, Cloud felt more than a little silly. Why would the most popular guy in school take his suggestion seriously? He was so insignificant compared to the brown-haired teenager. Still, Yuffie had always told him to finish his sentences even if he was embarrassed because otherwise, it would be even more embarrassing. Well, usually. So Cloud forced himself to continue.

"Erm, not a lot of people go to the reference section on the third level of the library. You might want to… stay there for a while to avoid your, you know… fans?"

He was fully expecting Leon to smirk that arrogant smirk again, telling him that the library was only reserved for nerds like Cloud, or something along those lines. God knew how many times he had heard that from the snobs. He was definitely not expecting Leon to smile –a genuine smile had never looked more sincere- while carelessly running a hand through his hair.


Cloud felt compelled to return that smile.

"…No problem."

Leon seemed to jump a little at his reply. He probably didn't think Cloud would, given his tendency to act meeker than a mouse in class. And then, when Cloud cocked his head to stare at him curiously, the other's smile widened slightly as though heartened by the turn of events, a bit of red dusting his cheeks. Before Cloud could try and understand that, however, Leon was already giving him a curt wave and running off towards the library's main entrance.

It was just in time too. A few moments after Leon had disappeared into the library, a few of his fans darted up the stairs, completely bypassing Cloud and heading for the next corridor.

Staring at the library for a moment more, Cloud sighed. He turned and walked away. Was there no quiet corner in the school anymore?

A few days later, the mobbing and blatant swooning all stopped suddenly. Apparently, Leon had gotten so irritated by his horde of fans that he simply just snapped suddenly, growling threats here and there that had more or less deterred them from worshipping him that blatantly. There were still a few moony-eyed looks and silly giggles when his fans saw him, but that was usually it.

What was truly gossip-worthy nowadays wasn't how hot Leon was, but rather, what exactly had made him that mad on that fateful day his fanclubs had to go covert. It was indeed rather strange, because Leon seemed to have always tolerated his fans, though he didn't really like them.

Some said that Leon's tolerance only went that far.

And some said Leon had gotten a warning from the fire department about his fans obstructing all the fire escapes.

Then there were those who believed that Leon's secret lover had gotten insanely jealous, and Leon wanted to appease him.

Cloud wasn't exactly sure what had happened, and he seriously didn't care. Just so as long as the traffic-stopping mobbing was no more, and he didn't have to walk the extra five-minutes to the library to return his books.

One thing he had to get used to, however, was how he seemed to be seeing Leon walking about in the corridors a lot more frequently…


Teaser for next part: Leon thought his secret was very, very well-kept. So how did all his friends find out about it?

A/N: Like I mentioned before, Vanilla Soufflé is a series of drabbles and ficlets meant to explain backstories and some events that were not fully explained in the main fic Vanilla. So reviewers are welcomed to drop me a good review (read: constructive) with their ideas and if it inspires me, I'll probably write it.