Title: The Pets Chronicle part 1 - Rumour has it
Author: Sorceress Fantasia
Pairing: Leon / Cloud
Theme: Rumour
Rating: PG
Warnings: AU, fluff, sap, humour, slightly crack-tistic in nature

Disclaimer: I don't own Kingdom Hearts or any of its characters, as much as I would like to.

Written for LJ challenge 7snogs.

Summary: Leon finds a black chocobo lying unconscious in front of his apartment one day, and he reluctantly helps it if just so to keep his younger cousin happy. But he really wouldn't mind helping that bird a hundred more times if it means he can see its master again.

It was rumoured that chocobos were a rather clever species of animals, with an intelligence that allowed them to understand a little human language and even reply happily with their distinctive 'warks'.

It was rumoured that chocobos were very graceful, as evident by every step they walk, every wave of their wings and their petite size that made them resemble little chicken plushies.

It was rumoured that chocobos were extremely beautiful creatures, with feathers that shined in the light and bright eyes that glimmered with mischief, much like how a three-year-old child looked like before sticking his hand into the cookie jar for the last crumb.

As a result of all these rumours, chocobos were always seen to be the best pet one could ever want or dream of. Children wrote to Santa for a sweet little chocobo, and those same children begged their parents for one. However, not many people got the chance to rear a pet chocobo, mostly because they were rather rare, but also because if they were caught forcibly from the wild, they usually did not survive their first week in captivity. They were animals that liked the wild very, very much.

Their rates of survival in captivity was also greatly decreased when someone found out that they tasted very good, barbequed or with just a pinch of salt. That same guy eventually went on to found his own fast-food chain aptly named 'Fantasia Fried Chocobos', but that is another story all together.

Anyway, the point was that those who did own a pet chocobo were considered to be very lucky.

Leon thought that whoever spread those rumours had apparently never met this particular chocobo, which was currently lying unconscious and slumped in front of his apartment, looking more like road kill than anything else. Its tongue had fallen out of its beak, its eyes long replaced by spiraling lines of dizziness, and if Leon took a closer look, he swore he could see stars circling the bird's head, dancing a merry tune and completely oblivious to the unconscious bird.

Just moments ago, he had opened the door with the intention of going out to buy groceries. That was when he heard a happy 'wark' and a dashing flash of black on the stairs, quickly followed by an alarmed, 'wark!', the sound of emergency brakes screeching, and the little blob of black feathers tumbling down in a wild flail of wings and too-thin legs. If Leon had been a little more delusional, he would claim that there was an instant replay of the chocobo's ill-fated fall in slow motion, rewind and then played again. Leon silently reminded himself to stop giving in to his younger cousin's puppy eyes and watch anime with him. Sora's puppy eyes and anime were doing strange things to his psyche.

"What's that noise?"

Speaking of the devil… ahem, angel, Sora popped out from behind him at the ruckus. His big blue eyes widened upon settling on the black bird, and he gasped. Then, his eyebrows twitched and he turned to Leon and asked, "You didn't trip it, did you?"

It seemed that Leon would be forever reminded of his sudden evil streak that had surfaced one day, causing him to stick a leg out when their pet chocobo, a little pink bird with a red ribbon on her head and going by the name of Aeris, was trotting happily along the dining table. She had tripped and knocked her head against the floor with a blood-curdling 'wark', the little white bead falling from her ribbon and disappearing. It was kind of sad, because Leon really liked that little white bead.

Not that he didn't feel sorry for Aeris, of course. The bump on her head had caused her to be mistaken for a goose for quite a while. As punishment, Sora the little chocobo lover had forced him to buy the healthiest greens for Aeris for an entire month, though Leon thought it might have been a better idea to buy Aeris' favourite greens instead. Healthy did not equate tasty.

"Not this time," Leon answered truthfully. "It just tumbled down. Probably it was stupid enough to trip on its legs."

Sora gave him a pointed look. He returned it. Sora's glare intensified. He shrunk a bit. Sora's glower started to generate sparks. He shrunk to the size of the white bead that used to be in Aeris' ribbon.

Finally, Leon decided it would be in his best interests to help the black chocobo or something. Sighing, he walked up to the still unconscious bird and gave it a little poke. Aeris followed behind him tentatively, reaching out to nudge her fellow chocobo with her beak. When it did not respond, she gave it a gentle kick. When it still did not respond, she cried loudly and kicked harder and harder. Leon resolved to keep Aeris in her cage in Sora's bedroom when Sora was playing Marvel vs Capcom on the console.

Taking pity on the black chocobo, he picked it up carefully to keep it away from her, cradling it against his chest. The poor thing still did not wake up, and upon further checking, was wearing a collar but there was no tag to indicate where its master lived. Leon sighed again. He didn't want to have to take care of another chocobo, but Sora would not let him have a good night's sleep if he didn't at least look after it a bit while looking for its missing master.

So Leon reluctantly brought the black chocobo inside his apartment, inwardly thinking that if they couldn't find its master in three days he would sell the bird to the local pet store. Or maybe Fantasia Fried Chocobo, depending on which of them offered Leon a higher price. Unaware of his cousin's evil plans, Sora had already gone on ahead to prepare the first-aid kit, mentally calculating how much greens the bird would need to get healthy again. Aeris just toddled along after them, wondering when she'd get to play with her new punching bag.

Leon thought he felt his eyebrow twitch. How that little blob of black feathers had gotten so close to both Sora and Aeris in just two hours, he would never understand.

Three hours ago, the chocobo finally woke up with a weak 'wark' and when it tried standing up, it had immediately fallen sideways from wooziness. Sora was quick to fawn and fuss over it, propping it up with soft cushions and giving it a nice water bowl and another bowl filled with Aeris' favourite greens. As though invigorated by the sight of food, it had recovered almost instantly and begun to chomp down the greens heartily like it was scared the greens would suddenly sprout legs and run away. Aeris, a little miffed that the newcomer was eating her food and using her bowls, had stalked over looking like she intended to kick it again. But the black chocobo had looked up at that moment, gave her a wink (how in the world did that chocobo learned to wink like that?), and she swooned dreamily. Leon had picked the black bird up for a moment, and after giving it a, ahem, thorough examination, determined that it was a male. No wonder Aeris was so easily taken in. Sora then proceeded to fuss over both chocobos, playing game after game with the two after they had finished eating.

Now the brunet boy was playing fetch with the two, laughing cheerfully while the two fluff balls chased after the small rubber ball. They seemed to be having a lot of fun, something Leon couldn't understand no matter how hard he tried. He was never an animal person. In fact, if Sora hadn't begged him to keep Aeris when that pink bird had wandered out of a bush and into Sora's hands one day, Leon wouldn't even bothered to have a pet at home. They were too troublesome. And they made Sora entirely too noisy for him to read his books.

Just when Leon was thinking if he should just go to bed and hopefully drown out all the noise, there was a frantic knock on their door followed by the doorbell. Peering at Sora, who was still engrossed with the two chocobos, he sighed, resigning himself to have to pluck himself out of his chair and his book. Crossing the apartment, he hoped that it wasn't a door-to-door salesman or something. It would be such a waste of energy to kick the guy down the stairs.

Then he opened the door.

And he promptly felt his heart skip a beat before pounding like crazy against his ribcage.

There, standing outside his apartment, was a teenager, seemingly a few years younger than himself. The teen had messy golden hair that looked like a chocobo's nest, blue eyes that were much too big for his face, a nose that wasn't sharp enough, some freckles on his cheeks and rather feminine pouting lips. But somehow, despite all that (or perhaps because of a combination of all that), Leon thought he was the cutest guy he had ever seen in his life.

When he opened his mouth to speak, Leon thought he had never heard a voice as soothing as his, and in his trance, it took him quite a while to actually register that the cutest guy in his life was talking to him.

"Err… sorry, could you repeat that?"

The blond teenager looked anxiously at him, his brows knitted in worry.

"I'm sorry, but have you seen a black chocobo? I just moved into the apartment upstairs last night, you see, and when I was unpacking my stuff earlier, I suddenly realized that my pet was gone! He's got black feathers, an orange beak, and purple eyes. Have you seen him? Have you?"

Leon seriously couldn't remember if he had seen a black chocobo earlier, not when he was so busy staring into the newcomer's blue eyes and pink cherry lips to even think. Vaguely, Leon wondered if he could persuade the blond teen into coming inside his apartment for a glass of water and calm down a bit before volunteering to help look for the missing pet. Better yet, maybe he could persuade the teen into forgetting all about the bird and just come in for a nice chat and maybe even dinner. If they were going to be neighbours, it would be a good idea to get to know each other, right?


Unfortunately (for Leon, that is), there was a sudden loud and excited 'wark' and the little blob of black feathers was already at the door, flapping his wings eagerly and bouncing on his feet.

"Zack!" the teenager cried happily, quickly bending down to pick his pet up. "You naughty bird, you! How could you just run off like that? Do you have any idea how worried I was? I even thought you had gotten captured by someone who was going to sell you to the local pet store or even that Fantasia Fried Chocobo!" When the bird whined pitifully, tears gathering up in his eyes, Cloud sniffed and hugged it tighter. "Don't you dare run off again, you understand?"

"Oh! Are you his master?" Sora asked, having just gotten to the door with Aeris when Zack had suddenly zipped off, only to see the black chocobo snuggling against a stranger.

When the teenager's eyes landed on the pink chocobo, they lit up in realization. Staring down hard at Zack, he poked his tummy and muttered something about 'skirt chasers'. The black chocobo blinked innocently.

"Forgive my lack of manners. My name's Cloud. I just moved into the apartment upstairs last night, and Zack here," –he poked his tummy again, to which the bird cooed happily – "ran off when I was unpacking earlier. Did he follow your chocobo inside your apartment? I'm sorry about that. Zack can be really playful sometimes."

"So you're our new neighbour! Everyone's been gossiping about who would occupy that empty apartment for forever, since the last guy moved out! Welcome! I'm Sora, and this is my cousin, Leon. This little beauty here," – Aeris fluffed herself up a bit at the praise – "is our pet. Her name's Aeris. And don't worry, Zack didn't follow Aeris. He sorta fell down the stairs and blacked out. Leon brought him inside."

Cloud gasped, quickly giving his pet a once over and pulling lightly on his wings to see if anything had broken. "Fell down the stairs? Zack, how many times must I tell you not to run down the stairs?"

The bird shrunk, burying his head into Cloud's arms. His feathers drooped as he tried to make himself invisible.

"None of your favourite greens tonight for dinner! You'll be eating the healthiest greens we have, which I know you hate because they taste gross. But since you fell down and even got yourself unconscious, you'll need your nutrients. And Zack, no using the watery eyes tactic on me. It's not going to work this time."

Zack whined when Cloud tapped his beak a few times, chiding him softly.

Then Cloud turned his gaze to Leon, and the blonde suddenly looked like a temptress rather than the distraught little teenager just moments ago. The wonders of finding a missing pet.

"Thank you so much for helping Zack. Is there anything I can do for you in return?"

Leon had to slap himself inwardly to stop all the naughty thoughts from surfacing, especially when Cloud was gazing at him shyly, those blue eyes brimming with emotions that were pleading for Leon to ravish him right there and then. Or maybe it was just Leon's imagination. "It… It was my pleasure. I… I like chocobos anyway."

Neither of them noticed the look of disbelief Sora shot at Leon.

But apparently, that answer pleased Cloud.

"Well then, I guess I'll just have to thank you again."

"You… You really don't have to." What was it about the blond that made Leon feel like a high school student again? He was already in college, for god's sake! But… just stealing a glance at Cloud was enough to set his face aflame and get his heart throb like there was no tomorrow. It was so, so, so… surreal. But it was a nice feeling, Leon thought. A very nice feeling.

Cloud smiled warmly at him. Setting Zack down on the ground, who gave him a curious 'wark' and then quickly wrapped himself around his leg, Cloud took a step closer to Leon and cupped his face gently. Before anyone could register what was happening, Cloud had already pulled Leon down for a short, chaste kiss.

Leon's heart promptly collapsed from an overload of excitement. It forced itself to continue pounding, if only to feel more of that wondrous soft lips and that soft pressure. His nerves cried out in pain, positively fried by the sheer delight of the electrifying touch on his lips. His lips cooed in delight, happy to get the most action than the rest of the body parts. His stomach flipped, the butterflies within dancing and cheering to the latest nightclub hit. And when Cloud pulled away, Leon's brain screamed for him to grab Cloud and kiss him again.

"Thank you so much for helping Zack. I believe we'll have fun being neighbours," Cloud breathed softly, his warm breath tickling Leon's burning lips.

He remained rooted to the ground even after Cloud had picked up his pet and headed upstairs.

From that night onwards, there was a new rumour about chocobos amongst the residents of Destiny Apartments. Something about them being the best matchmakers…


A/N: I'm taking a short break from Vanilla, in case you were wondering. The Pets Chronicle will be a series of 7 ficlets, all very short and slightly crack-tistic. Vanilla will return... soon-ish.