Pairings: None, technically; although you know it's inevitable that Cloud gets rammed with innuendo about Sephiroth. I mean, it's almost canon this time.
Summary: (Parody) Cloud and Leon thought the destruction of their worlds was bad, but then, they'd never been drafted to teach Defense to Senseless English Wizarding Children by one Cunning Old Headmaster Who Should Be Shot.
Warnings: TWT, lots of swearing, and the dragging in of bits from FF7/8. Because I can, and because I like them better than the bullshit excuse of 'Radiant Garden.' Also lots of HP crossover clichés, obviously. Unbetaed.
1. I'm not particularly interested in coming up with any in-depth plot—this is just to entertain myself. Maybe others. It's entirely possible I'll never update this again. Especially since it is, you know, a joke.
2. As for the language barrier…Disney's American and the FF cast can speak with Sora and the Princesses just fine. There, problem solved.
All Your Base Are Belong to Us
Cloud listened to Leon cursing fit to make even Cid blush. He was partial to a bit of swearing himself, though he thought the Wutai language lent itself particularly well to such exercise. It boasted no less than sixteen variations on the simple concept of 'bastard,' and calling someone a 'ShinRa' was the equivalent of, say, ritually slaughtering the entirety of the insultee's village and drinking their family's blood. For example.
"People who say swearing's just for the unimaginative have got it all wrong," Zack used to say, usually after Sephiroth gave him the Look for daring to open his mouth in public. "It's not about looking smart, it's about mass marketing. You call a chick a 'trollop,' most people'll think you're talking about a pudding, but if you call someone a 'cock-sucking boy-humper'…well, there isn't much to misinterpret, now is there?"
It took some time for Leon's temper to calm, just long enough for Cloud to start considering the merits of wandering off on his own. This last bit probably wasn't a good thing since, given Cloud's general state of mind, once he got lost he likely wouldn't be able to find himself again. On the other hand, getting Leon in trouble with Tifa was like watching a car crash in an action movie; it typically involved lots of explosions and property damage and resulted in severe personal injury, but was highly entertaining for everyone else.
"Problem?" Cloud inquired dryly. He didn't bother to get up from the tree-stump he'd claimed as a seat after the puddle had been wiped from its surface.
Leon shot him a Look to rival Sephiroth's, one that didn't just question his intelligence but also promised an impending doom with lots of blood and agonized screaming involved. Leon was very good at getting his message across without actually saying anything. If Cloud hadn't been such an uncommunicative asshole himself, he might've been impressed.
"The engine's shot to hell," the brunet said bluntly, turning his attention to the Gummi ship. He appeared to be attempting to bore a hole into its side with the force of his rage alone. Cloud glanced at the front of the ship, which was smeared with black goop, and mentally raised a brow. Who knew heartless could get sucked into the grill?
He bet Sora had never had this problem. Nor, he doubted, had the Keyblade Master ever gotten stranded on a world that wasn't even mapped out on Cid's charts, because that sort of thing just didn't happen to heroes. Even junior heroes.
"Fuck," Leon suddenly snarled from where he bent over the front of the Gummi ship, poking at the shadow-guts with the tip of his gunblade. It looked rather like a giant bug-splatter, only black instead of puke-yellow. "Some of the blocks've been cracked."
Oh, Cid was going to be pissed, and for once it wouldn't even be Cloud's fault. He made mental note to have Yuffie bring the popcorn when Leon tried to explain this one.
"So, we find a shop," Cloud shrugged uncaringly, standing up and thanking the Planet that he'd brought Vincent's cloak. It was cold. "Or a mechanic. Or a moogle."
"In case you hadn't noticed," said Leon, slowly, with the sort of careful articulation that one uses when talking to retarded people, "we're on a hill. And judging from the distinct lack of lights for miles, I'd say the most civilized thing nearby is the fungus that must've spawned you."
If his voice were any icier, it would crack under its own weight.
"Then I suppose we'd best start walking," Cloud replied calmly, and then, because some things never change, he added, "Let's mosey."
"…Go die in a fucking corner."
Neither of the two men were sure how long they walked, hoping to Hyne, the Ancients, the Princesses, and the Planet—one of the men tossed in Buddha, for good measure—that they were going in the right direction. At least, not in a direction that would take them to the edge of a cliff, a giant crater, or the end of time.
When Leon darkly expressed the sentiment that it was cold enough to freeze his balls off, Cloud snidely implied the disbelief that Leon had anything of the sort to be frozen in the first place—being raised a mountain boy and having more mako than blood didn't give him much empathy for his fellow humans. This led to inappropriate suggestions concerning Cloud, a certain General with a severe Oedipal disorder, and various complex combinations of the two, which eventually resulted in Leon's black eye and Cloud's bruised ribs.
Since logically freezing or starving to death in a vast rainy wilderness was too mundane an end for seasoned warriors like these two, the sky was just beginning to lighten by the time they caught the first sign of civilization, and with a respectable minimum of fist-fighting as well.
The sign wasn't a literal one declaring where they were, which wouldn't have mattered to someone who didn't even know what world they were on in the first place. Nor was it warm light from a cozy little village, where everyone knew one another and kept the hearth-fires burning to welcome weary travelers with hand-knitted blankets.
It was a drunk. He was passed out face-first in the mud, which made Cloud—the man with the highest record of having seizures at the worst possible times—cringe in sympathy. He wore strange clothing that might have been like Organization XIII's long coats, or might have been a dress, and in his senseless hand he clutched a bottle like it was a teddy bear.
While Cloud silently mused on what it meant that their first meeting with the natives of this world involved a drunkard, Leon was tugging the bottle from the man's grasp and investigating the label. It had the sharp, square-ish lettering that belonged to the language he remembered the Princesses of Heart speaking in, quite unlike the more elegant chicken-scratches of Radiant Garden.
"'Fire Whiskey,'" he read aloud. He glanced at Cloud, and when he received a shrug he brought the glass to his nose and took a whiff. Then he dropped it as a coughing fit convulsed his body and flames seemed to engulf his nostrils. Cloud snorted and kicked the bottle away, waiting for Leon's eyes to stop streaming.
"Let's just trail this guy back to whatever shit-hole he crawled out of," he muttered, glowing eyes following the footprints that zigzagged crazily in the mud.
As proprietor of the Hog's Head, Aberforth was used to seeing less-than-savory types wander in and stagger out. As far as he could tell these two newbies weren't nearly as strange as some of his regulars, but there was something about them that his experienced eye couldn't help but stare at.
"And what can I be gettin' you two?" he asked as the men approached his bar counter. He was careful to keep his voice casual without being too friendly; never knew what might set people off these days, what with all the hysteria flying about after the recent break-in at the Department of Mysteries and the Dark Lord's resurrection. Bad for business, that one.
"…We're looking for a mechanic," said the taller one, a brunet wearing indecently tight leather. Youth fashion nowadays, Aberforth sighed, nothin' but kids parading around with their arses hanging out to be gawked at. Not like the good shapeless robes of his day, thank you very much, people actually had dignity then.
"A mechanic, eh? Whatever for?" They couldn't be Muggles, considering all the repelling charms around Hogsmeade. Could be Squibs, but what kind of non-Muggle asked for a mechanic?
"Our transportation broke down," the leather-wearing brunet said in such a way that told the experienced barkeep to shut the hell up and stop asking stupid questions if he valued his limbs. He had a slight accent that Aberforth couldn't describe.
"Well, if it's brooms yer havin' problems with, there's a repair shop down in Diagon Alley, or Knockturn Alley if it's flying carpets." Illegal, of course, but that didn't stop some people. He couldn't know that the men's strange expressions came from thoughts of Mickey Mouse-enchanted broomsticks and Aladdin's bad-tempered carpet. "'Course, you could always Apparate. Efficiency over style, I always say."
He pointedly eyed the taller one's obscene trousers.
"It's an airship," said the stranger with visible irritation. Aberforth was starting to wonder if the short blond one swathed in a red cloak was mute or deaf or something—with the way his weirdly bright eyes were constantly flitting about the place like a paranoid mosquito, one couldn't be too careful.
"Airship?" Images of inflatable pirate ships sailed across his thoughts.
"Do you know a mechanic or not, old man?" the blond one suddenly snapped in a low voice with tightly-leashed violence. Aberforth resolutely told himself that the sudden shaking in his knees was arthritis as his hand crept towards the wand stuck through his belt.
"No, man, I don't, not for one of yer 'airships,'" he groused. "Now're either one of you Royal Highnesses gonna buy a drink, or should I scrape the ground first?"
Aberforth watched with narrowed eyes as the taller one gripped the arm of the shorter and forcibly led him away to one of the tables in the darkest corner of the pub. There was a strange bulge below the blond's left shoulder under that cloak; probably a pack of some kind, which naturally led Aberforth's experienced and admittedly embittered mind to start imagining all sorts of scenarios, usually ending in violent sprays of blood and maniacal laughter.
Barkeepers are like priests. They sit around and listen to people bitch and moan about their terrible lives, offer advice, and watch those people promptly ignore said advice. After all, the mass population generally prefers to be pitied than working for anything better. But barkeepers, like priests, know how to keep their mouths shut; at least, until their respective establishments close. After that, it's a free-for-all, and what was once a respectable clergyman or barkeeper suddenly becomes the main attraction at the metaphorical water-cooler.
So Aberforth mentioned the strangers to a curious patron, who then told his cousin, who gabbed to her younger sibling. When the younger sibling went to Hogsmeade after breakfast for some Honeyduke's chocolate, she told old Mr. Honeyduke himself, who shared it with Rosmerta over a pint of butterbeer, and Rosmerta may or may not have said something to several other people, one of whom coincidentally happened to be a member of the Order of the Phoenix. And thus it was proved, once again, that small towns like Hogsmeade are like one big bloody quilting circle where you couldn't take a shit without the neighbor noticing.
It was a very efficient quilting circle, too. Not that it got any actual quilting done, of course, but in terms of piecing together personal opinion with rumor, there was no other like it. By the time Dumbledore happened to hear of the pre-dawn arrival of two strangers—a dominatrix of leather and scars and a blood-crazed Azkaban escapee—over his daily ritual of tea and Daily Prophet lies, it was only mid-morning. And being that he wasn't only the Headmaster of Hogwarts, Supreme Mugwump of the Wizengamot, and a host of other stuffy titles but also the head and founder of the aforementioned Order, one might think a man of such import wouldn't have time to mess around with two random people, no matter how interesting they might sound.
But it was only June, albeit a very wet one. The school had only let out about a week ago, but Dumbledore had a feeling in his gut about this particular rumor that had nothing to do with the fact that tea is a diarrheic. He cleared his calendar for the day with a negligent wave of his hand and pulled on an eye-bleeding-orange traveling cloak. If nothing else came of this morning, he might at least get a good laugh at the expense of others.
Cloud looked at the hand on his arm, and then at Leon, with an expression that told the gunblader to remove it immediately or Cloud would do it himself. Permanently.
"You need better self-control." Leon stopped at a two-person table covered in enough grease to slick the Highwind's engines for a year, but it was dark and secluded, which was what really mattered. His own self-control had been tested the moment he heard the words 'royal highnesses' and memories of slick blond hair and a cocky grin fluttered to the surface.
"And you need a proctologist to remove your head," retorted the Zack-voice in Cloud's head. The blond blinked in mute surprise at the words coming out of his mouth without permission, and then gave a long-suffering sigh.
Leon shot him a glare. He'd been around Cloud long enough not to be perturbed when the voices spoke for themselves. "If Tifa hadn't asked that I keep an eye on you—"
"Since when're you so whipped—"
"—wouldn't have to be here—"
"—don't need a fucking babysitter—"
"—and what is it with your obsession with Sephiroth?" Leon finished entirely off-topic, somehow managing to keep his voice to a low level.
Cloud was far more powerful than any human had the right to be, but not even he could wish instantaneous death on someone with a glare. Not for lack of trying, though.
"None of your fucking business, Squall." Low blow; Leon twitched at his former name. "And that barkeep's drooling for your man-flower."
Startled, Leon blinked and glanced at the bar from the corner of his eyes. The white-haired, long-bearded barkeeper was indeed staring at his pants rather creepily.
Cloud's smirk was unbearably smug.
"…'Man-flower'?" Mental note, thought Leon; assign Yuffie to cleaning duty for the castle toilets. Or better yet, just sacrifice her screaming little ninja-body to the heartless. He very badly wanted to say what was on the tip of his tongue, something about Cloud's own man-flower and the lack thereof, with not-so-subtle references to Sephiroth; but then he remembered how easily Tifa could punch through solid stone walls and he was able to take the higher moral road.
Leon leaned his elbows on the table and let his face plop onto his hands. "No Gummi mechanic, at least around here," he muttered. "Or moogles." The barkeep would've mentioned them instead of those broom-whatsits.
But moogles were universal, protested the immature side of him. And they made the cutest noises, kind of like Perdita's puppies when someone accidentally stepped on them.
"What about the PHS in the cockpit?" Cloud was idly doodling death scenes on the greasy tabletop with a golden claw. Neither of them paid attention to the yelling that had broken out by the bar.
"The comm-units got taken out when we hit those heartless." And when he figured out which chipmunk had been responsible for putting the communication console in the front of the damn ship, King Mickey would need to find replacement hangar assistants. Leon suddenly looked up with calculating grey eyes. "Do you have enough of a heart left to sell?"
Cloud kicked him under the table hard enough to fracture a bone. Pity, really. If Cloud had had more to show for being consumed by darkness than a bat wing—like, oh, the ability to open quantum portals through subspace, for instance—then Leon wouldn't have to worry about geriatric fixations on his leather pants. Nor did the blond seemed particularly concerned by their predicament, as though he'd woken up in enough strange places without any memory of how he got there to really care. Being nearly immortal must be nice, Leon mused darkly, what with not having to worry about simple things like time and death. Although, it was pretty funny to know that Cloud was older than he was, and yet still got carded at bars.
"Interesting," said a new voice. It was old and crackly like aged paper, but there was no denying the note of kind condescension that comes with living for far too long with a foot in the grave. "Your cloak does not appear to be stained with the blood of your victims."
Cloud and Squall turned as one, like those puppets with the wooden poles stuck through where their spines should be. Leon resisted the urge to scream and throw his arm over his eyes at the sickly-neon-orange spectacle before them by tightening his hand around his gunblade's hilt.
"What do you want?"
The tall old man (who looked disturbingly akin to their barkeeper, come to think of it, and oh shit if that old fucker put his hand anywhere near his trousers he was so dead) spread his arms in a benign gesture.
"You have caused quite the stir in town, and I needed to satisfy the curiosity of a senile old man," he said with a grandfatherly smile that hardly registered with the brunet. Leon didn't have much experience with family except for his father, and Laguna had been a terror of Yuffie's caliber that he wouldn't wish on anyone.
Cloud, for his part, seemed fascinated by the sparkly twinkliness of the man's eyes.
"Do you mind terribly if I draw up a chair?"
Leon was about to tell him that yes, he did mind terribly, and it would be even more terrible if his gunblade slipped and just happened to take off the geezer's head. Complete accident; it could happen to anyone, really. But before he could do much more than part his lips, the old man had pulled a…wand? from the depths of his sleeves and waved it in such a way that it left lines of purple in the air.
In the shape of a chair. Which thudded onto the floor a few seconds later, turning the couple's table into a more crowded trio's.
Well. At least Leon had seen Merlin do similar things, so he wasn't as shocked as he could have been. Yen Sid had the more traditional idea that such idle uses were too undignified for 'olde magik, and don't ye touch mye books, ye bastards.'
"…You're a wizard." Duh.
"Indeed!" the old man smiled broadly. "And yet you do not seem to be a dominatrix at all."
The old man hummed and took a sip from the glowing red drink he'd carried over with him. Leon glanced over the man's shoulder and was relieved, if not slightly suspicious, to see that the attraction of his leather pants apparently couldn't compare to this stranger. The barkeeper was glaring death and unpleasant things at the old man's back; the Bubonic Plague had probably been started with expressions like that and people stepping on puppies.
"So," said the old man obliviously, "what is your current world view on social order?"
It was universally guaranteed that anything containing the word 'social' would be an entirely alien concept to Leon and Cloud. Their eyes met across the table. Leon raised a slender brow, as though asking if Cloud had understood; the blond blinked in incomprehension, both at the man's words and the man himself; then Leon shrugged slightly, as though to say he didn't know what the fuck was going on either, and Cloud shrugged back, perhaps implying that they didn't have anything else to work with and they might as well go with the flow. It was another language between them, a wordless one that arose from men fighting and bleeding and living side-by-side (however reluctantly, and with much bitching, blackmail, and Aerith's testosterone-soothing hot cocoa).
The old man pretended not to notice this strange exchange of spastic twitches, and slurped his drink happily.
When the silence stretched on and it became obvious that Cloud and Leon were perfectly content not to say anything with actual sound, the old man observed, "You two are new to this town."
Leon's expression clearly said, 'No shit. Nothing gets past you, does it?'
"Well then, in that case, I will simply have to introduce you to my, ah, colleagues."
This oddly convenient offer of geniality made Leon's eyes narrow. Cloud, who was rather used to things going from bad to oh-fucking-hell-everyone's-dead-and-I've-lost-my-fucking-mind worse, didn't have the gumption anymore to even pretend he cared about this turn of events. Neither Leon's suspicion nor Cloud's apathy were wrong; what they didn't realize was that when Dumbledore got an idea in his head, nothing but the murder of his wee sister would deter him, and she was already dead as a doornail. Dumbledore was always planning something, and no matter how hard they kicked and screamed and threatened to burn down the school, no one could resist his machinations in the end.
Then again, people had said the same thing about Sephiroth, Ultimecia, and Ansem/Xehanort/Mansex/whatever-the-hell-his-name-was-today, and look at what happened to them.
Cloud shrugged again. Then without warning, his clawed hand shot out and shattered the tall glass of red something that the old man had been drinking from, never changing the placid unconcern on his pale features. "Poke around in my head again and I'll kill you."
The old man beamed as red drink dripped from his crooked nose. Why, no one knew.
Knowing it was inevitable for the sake of the story, Leon resignedly muttered, "…Whatever."