Author's Note: I can't tell whether I am disappointed with this chapter or not. Sorry if it's not what you were expecting, guys; I… have never actually played Monstro. I always get my sister to do it because she is more awesome than I, and I don't even stay in the room while she does it. So just bear with me.
Monstro: Surprisingly Squeamish
"Sora. Sora! Wake up!" Leon's brows furrowed together worriedly. The younger boy had been standing at the lasers, and had been thrown to the ground in the crash—and had landed on his head. He sincerely hoped that Sora's skull was as thick as he thought it was. "Sora!"
Luckily, the younger boy groaned quietly and slowly blinked his eyes open. "Nngh… What hit me…?"
"The floor," the older brunet replied, unable to help a small, relieved smile.
Cloud leaned over both of them and crossed his arms. "In the floor's defense, you hit it first."
"…Things must be bad. Cloud's making jokes," Sora mumbled, sitting up and rubbing his head. "What happened?"
"We were swallowed by a whale!" Goofy answered. "And we've been trying to wake ya up ever since we crashed!"
"So we better go and look for a way back out!" Donald added grumpily. "We've lost enough time as it is!"
The Keyblade wielder blinked, then scowled. "Yeah, I'm sorry that my losing consciousness has taken up some of your precious time."
"Alright, alright!" Leon cut in, glaring at both of them. "We don't need a repeat of Deep Jungle! Okay? The ship is still in one piece and I want to keep it that way. Now if you don't want to find yourselves stuffed in a storage bin, I suggest you put aside your differences and get the hell out!"
There was not even an attempt at trying to be cool. Sora and Donald ran out of the ship.
Goofy frowned. "Would ya really stuff them in a storage bin, Leon?"
The brunet snorted and crossed his arms. "No. But they don't need to know that."
"You're surprisingly devious sometimes," Cloud commented, smirking, as he made his way out of the ship as well.
"Shut up." Leon paused on the steps, glancing around uneasily at the twitching walls and floor, and feeling his own stomach churn uncomfortably. "…Maybe I should stay here and check the ship. Just in case we actually sustained some damage."
The Naïve Trio blinked up at him innocently before Sora smiled. "Okay! We wouldn't want to fly out with a busted laser or something, anyway!"
Cloud watched them go in disbelief, then looked up at the brunet with even more incredulity. "You already checked the ship when it was my turn to try and wake up Sora!"
"…Well… Maybe I missed something on the scanners," Leon replied, looking back at the control panel.
The blond raised an eyebrow, then took a glance at their surroundings as well. After a moment, he smirked. "You're squeamish, aren't you?"
"No!" the older man snarled quickly, unaware of the light dusting of blush across his cheeks. "Why would I be squeamish? I've fought at the Coliseum before! There's more bloodshed there!"
"…You are squeamish," the swordsman concluded, smiling in a decidedly unsettling manner.
Leon took a step back warily. "Why would I be squeamish of a giant whale? I could have cleaved it in half with my gunblade!"
"…Right. Are you sure you wouldn't rather stab into the soft, spongy flesh in its stomach? I'm sure that would be exceedingly more satisfying as revenge for swallowing us." Cloud grinned as the brunet shuddered in distaste. "Who knows? Maybe we'll even find the blow spout and you can crawl out and stab it in the eye."
"Knock it off! That's gross! And animal cruelty!" the brunet added quickly.
The younger man chuckled. "You just said it was gross."
"And animal cruelty!"
"A whale is a fish."
Leon scowled. "Actually, a whale is a mammal. Either way, fish are still animals, you moron!"
Cloud frowned. "No way?"
"Yes, fish are animals," the brunet snapped, placing his hands on his hips as he glared at him. "So are hippos. God, it's like talking to Sora after he's had an energy drink… FINE. I'll come," he snarled, walking down the steps of the gummi ship. He suppressed a shudder as the "ground" squished beneath his boots, then began in a general… Sora-ish direction.
The blond purred. "Now say that with more feeling."
"What, 'I'll co—'" Leon stopped in his tracks and narrowed his eyes. "…I swear, Cloud, I'll rip it off."
Cloud frowned again as the brunet began walking away. "You're no fun."
"I'm not here to be fun. I'm actually here to be no fun at all." The older man grunted quietly and shoved his hands in his pockets. "Stupid perverted moron."
"I'm not a moron!"
"But you are stupid and perverted?"
Leon frowned as he saw something familiar, then began walking a little faster. "Is that what I think it is?"
"If you think that that's a gummi ship, then yes, it is," Cloud replied, frowning. "How many do you think this fish has swallowed?"
"It's not a fish—Whatever," the brunet sighed, rolling his eyes. As they drew closer to the small gummi ship, though, he began taking it in with a critical eye, just as Cid had taught him.
It was a well built ship, he supposed. Even though it was small, maybe only big enough for two people (four, if they were all midgets), the gummis were put together with care and precision. The lasers were small, also. Frowning, he moved closer to examine them more carefully. They were small, but sprayed more like a shotgun, and with more power. What it lacked in firepower, though, it made up for in shielding. …He was sure that if he tweaked it a bit, though, he could make the aiming of the lasers more manageable and still have the shielding at full strength…
"Pinocchio? Is that you?"
Leon turned his head sharply at the voice, then tilted it a little as his eyes landed on an older gentleman with white hair and a thick mustache. He was wearing a leather apron, so he figured that the man was an engineer of some sort, and he immediately pegged him as the builder of the gummi ship. Nodding to it slightly, he asked, "Is this yours?"
The man nodded. "Yes. Are you friends of Sora? He mentioned that you might be coming this way."
"Oh. Uh, yeah. I'm Leon, this is Cloud," the brunet replied, pointing vaguely in the swordsman's direction.
"Nice to meet you, considering the circumstances. I'm Geppetto; my son Pinocchio is running around here somewhere. Sora, Donald, and Goofy were kind enough to go look for him."
Cloud snorted. "They would be." When he noticed a glare being sent his way via gunblader, he took a step back and covered his nose.
Leon gave him a few moments more of his angry attention before looking back at Geppetto. "This is a nice gummi ship. Did you build it yourself?"
"Yes. Pinocchio just brought me this navigation gummi." Geppetto looked it over carefully. "It looks like it's in decent shape. We may get out of here yet."
"Well, if you need any parts, I'm sure we have some spares in our gummi ship," the brunet offered. "And I could rewire your lasers so you have more control over the aim." He paused as he heard the sounds of battle—the clang of metal, the sound of magic. "…Cloud, make sure they don't give the whale indigestion. I do not want to be spewed out."
Cloud sighed and nodded obediently, trudging toward the sounds of battle. As he passed, however, he muttered, "Squeamish."
Leon's eyebrow twitched. However, he would not rise to the bait, so he gritted his teeth and waited for him to leave before turning back to continue the conversation with the old man.
"Hey, Sora, I—WHAT THE HELL IS THAT." Cloud scowled. "It looks like a mutated wood stove."
"What's a wood stove?" Sora asked in confusion, only to yelp before he dove for the ground, barely dodging one of the Heartless's tentacles. "Ack!"
"A little help!" Donald snapped, zapping the Heartless in the head.
The blond sighed. "Is there anything I need to know before I cleave through it?"
"Pinocchio's inside!" Goofy replied.
"Okay. …THERE'S SOMEBODY IN THERE?"
Donald began hopping up and down and shaking a fist at him. "That's why we're asking for help!" He let out a squawk as the Heartless suddenly expelled a mouthful of poisonous gas at him and scrambled out of the way.
Cloud grabbed his sword and eyed the Heartless warily; he didn't want to accidentally hurt Pinocchio when he killed it. When Goofy began running circles around the Heartless to distract it from Sora and Donald as they attacked with magic, however, he just decided to charge and hope for the best.
…Well, maybe he'd pray alongside his hoping, too.
"—And then you twist these two wires together, and the lasers share power with the shielding based upon the amount of heartless ships the gummi ship senses," Leon finished, then placed the casing back over the circuitry.
"You're mighty clever, Leon. I never would have been able to do that myself," Geppetto commented.
The brunet smiled a little and opened his mouth, only to be cut off by some girlish screams. "…I'll be right back," he stated, then turned and began sprinting toward their own gummi ship. When the girlish screaming continued, he grew worried, but only until Sora and something wooden ran shrieking past him. He slowed to a stop in confusion, then turned to look over his shoulder. "…Sora?"
"It was SO gross oh my Gawd!" Sora wailed, not skipping a beat as he continued sprinting away.
The older man blinked. "…What was gross?"
"Well," Cloud began, stomping up to and past him. "Sora got it in his head to stab the bubble. I told him not to. He must die."
Leon blinked again. "…What is that yellow-brown goo you're covered in?"
"Sora saw something and poked it with his Keyblade," Goofy explained, walking up beside him with Donald. "It spewed some sorta goo, so Sora jumped outta the way. Cloud was standin' right behind him, so he got a face full of goo instead."
"We told him not to touch it," Donald grouched, crossing his arms in irritation.
The brunet seriously wondered whether he wanted to know anything else, then sighed and asked, "…And… the little wooden puppet?"
"That's Pinocchio," Donald replied.
"Geppetto's son? But I thought—You know what, never mind." Leon shook his head. "I just don't want to know." He jumped as he heard a rumbling sound, the squishy ground trembling beneath his feet, before he honestly began freaking out (inwardly, of course; he'd never be able to live it down if anyone saw him actually panicking about gurgling whales). So, taking a deep breath, he turned and began making his way back to their gummi ship. "Get on the gummi ship or I'm leaving you all here."
He'd admit it now; he was squeamish. And he point blank refused to be outside the protective barrier of the gummi ship if the whale was going to puke.
"If you touch me, I swear, I'll cut off your arm."
Sora, Donald, and Goofy couldn't help but stifle their laughter at the appalled expression on the blond's face. Cloud, still covered in the somewhat potent smelling goo, stared at the brunet in horror.
"…You won't let me take my clothes off, you won't let me wash my hair in the sink, and you won't let me use any of the towels to try and rub it off, and now you won't let me touch you?"
"I don't want you walking around the ship naked—that's just awkward. I don't want you to wash your hair in the sink—the water is recycled and who knows what sort of grossness is in that whale slime. I don't want you to use the towels to rub it off—I'll just have to throw the towels away because I'll know where they've been and I don't know if that stuff washes out and if it doesn't, I don't want to find out. And I don't want you to touch me because you're covered in brownish yellow goo. That is gross." Leon glared, daring him to try and touch him—and possibly lose an arm in the process.
Sora blinked innocently. "Why do you want to keep trying to touch him, anyway, Cloud?"
"…Well, we've made it clear that you're some sort of simian human being and I will never be able to catch you to maul you and if I tree you, you won't come down. Bothering Donald and Goofy would bring no satisfaction. I want someone to suffer with me. Therefore, the only option left is Leon," Cloud explained, still glaring at him.
"How is it my fault that you got covered in goo?" Leon raised an eyebrow skeptically, then smirked and leaned back in his seat. "Unless… you want someone to share your squeamishness?"
The blond stared at him in confusion. "…What?"
"I'm sorry, Cloud; I can't help you with that, then. Once the whale sneezed us out, I had no reason to be squeamish. You, on the other hand… are covered in whale gook. I cannot be squeamish at that; only amused."
Cloud could only gawk, still confused—and a little annoyed that he wasn't getting a bit more sympathy.
…Then again, considering the abuse Leon took in Deep Jungle, this was probably karma coming back to bite him in the ass for treating him like a flower.
"Hey, I didn't expect you guys back so—ew!" Yuffie covered her mouth and stared at the blond's still slightly sticky body in horror, then turned, wrapping her arms in her stomach and gagging. "Gack! HCK! Ghhhh…!"
Leon sighed and rubbed her back momentarily, then began ushering her toward Cid's shop. "Come on, Yuffie. I have a story to tell you about a giant whale that you'll never believe. Also, I brought you guys presents."
"Oh my gosh presents!" she exclaimed, flailing upward, and the brunet noticed sourly that she looked fine now.
Well, until she turned to rush back to the gummi ship, saw Cloud again, and resumed gagging. So apparently she was just fine as long as she wasn't looking at him.
Sighing, Leon tossed his key to his room at the hotel at him. "Go clean yourself. If you're lucky, Aerith will help you."
Cloud grunted in annoyance as he caught the metal flung at him, but began toward the hotel nonetheless.
Yuffie waited until she was sure he was gone before popping right back up and getting in the brunet's face. "I WANT MY PRESENTS."
Leon sighed and patted her on the head, rolling his eyes in frustration. "Okay, just—"
"Pinocchio! Geppetto! You're okay!" Sora exclaimed joyously, and the gunblader nearly gave himself whiplash turning around.
Pinocchio smiled. "Yeah! I even got to shoot the enemy ships with the lasers while my father was driving!"
"How'd those work for you, by the way?" Leon asked, looking at the older man.
Geppetto crossed his arms thoughtfully. "Well, they were extremely powerful, but what are we going to do with the ship now? This world looks like a nice place for us to settle down, but what if we need to leave again?"
Smiling a little, the brunet replied, "Cid can just put your gummi ship in storage. If you need it again, just tell him, and he'll get it back out."
"That sounds like the best idea for now."
Yuffie tried to wait patiently, but even standing in one spot for more than seventeen seconds was hard. Whining quietly, she tugged at her foster brother's jacket. "Preeeeseeeeents!"
"Yuffie, I'm a little busy right now!" Leon patted her head despite his annoyance and turned his head back to the puppet-maker. "Have you guys got a place to stay? I'd just gotten a little house cleared out just before we left."
"I helped Aerith clean it!" the ninja exclaimed, flailing her arm over her head in a student's 'pick me, pick me' manner. "It's ready to move into!"
"Oh, great. Yuffie, why don't you show them where it is?" Leon suggested, pointedly ignoring her glare that clearly said 'you-bastard-I-want-my-presents-and-I-will-HAVE-THEM!' "I'll go tell Cid to put their ship in storage, and you can come back by the shop to see your present."
Her eyes lit up, and with a greedy 'ohmygosh presents,' she hurriedly led the older man and his puppet son away.
"Wow. You really let her just hang all over you, don't you, Leon?" Sora commented after a moment.
"…With Yuffie, she doesn't really give you much of a choice," Leon deadpanned, then sighed and turned to go back to the ship. "Why don't you guys go make sure that Yuffie settles them in, then come back to Cid's shop so we can get some things and then head out again."
"I vote we leave immediately after because Riku was acting really weird and I think he needs help!"
The gunblader blinked, then sighed again, deciding he'd just get the story later. "Fine, whatever." He watched Sora scamper away with the King's attendants trying to catch up, then clambered back into the gummi ship to grab the giant metallic box full of shiny orbs and the small bag containing Aerith's bracelet and Cid's smokes. Then, he made his way into Cid's shop, pausing to take in the world's overall appearance. Everything looked okay…
"Ya better be here t' buy somethin' or I'm gonna shove my spear up yer ass!"
Leon snorted and set his packages on the counter. "If you did that, I'm afraid Cloud might be offended."
Cid poked his head out of the storage room and squinted at him. "Leon? Ya back already?"
"Yes. I have presents."
"…I don't want nothin'," the mechanic stated, ducking back into the store room.
Leon rolled his eyes. "I got you some cigarettes from Agrabah."
"Hey, they got the good shit!"
"You're welcome," the brunet replied, tossing the package at him. "'The good shit' is expensive."
"Psh, with all the munny ya get from destroyin' Heartless, it's a wonder ya ain't King of the Worlds," Cid muttered, then frowned when he saw the giant metal box. "Th' hell is that?"
"I WANT MY PRESENT!" Yuffie roared, throwing the door open. She blinked as it banged against the wall, then smiled bashfully under the twin glares she was given and gently closed it again.
"…There's a hole in m' wall," Cid growled.
The ninja smiled brightly. "I'll fix it! It'll look good as new! You'll never be able to tell it was even there!" She gasped as she saw the large box and pointed at it. "Is that my present?"
Leon honestly thought about teasing her and telling her that it wasn't, but he was afraid her heart might pop with all of the excitement it was getting if he did. So, he nodded, pushing the box toward her. "Here's your present."
Yuffie squealed and leapt at it, hurriedly prying open the top. Once she had a glimpse of what was inside, however, she gasped and covered her mouth. Leon was almost afraid she didn't like it, but then she started cackling gleefully and began stuffing the shiny orbs into bag. "MATERIA! IT IS MINE!"
Cid snorted. "Well, fuck, Leon. We thought she'd forgotten all 'bout it. Now she'll be searchin' everybody fer more."
Leon blinked at him in confusion, then scowled and slammed the box closed, making her squeak in surprise. "Yuffie. This is a conditional gift. If I hear that you start searching other people for… material… or whatever you called it, I'm going to take it away, okay?"
She frowned. "B-b-b-but—"
"B-b-b-but nothing. Promise me you won't search other people—and promise that you won't steal from people. Not just this stuff. You won't steal anything from people."
"But how will I keep my awesome ninja skills?" Yuffie exclaimed, outraged. When the brunet's glare only darkened, she immediately backed down, quietly promising, "I won't steal from anyone. …Unless they agree to helping me with training."
"Good. These are yours then."
"Cid, do you have any—oh, hi, Leon. Cid, do you have any of that stuff you use to get the grease off your hands? I think I may need some to get… Cloud's… clothes clean," Aerith stated, trying to choose her words carefully. "Please."
"Yeah, sure, jus' a minute."
"Thank you, Cid." Aerith smiled sweetly, only to squeak quietly in surprise when she found something held up in front of her face. "…Oh! That's beautiful, Leon! Thank you!" she exclaimed, once she realized it was a bracelet rimmed with gold and white, pearl-like jewels. "But you didn't have to get me anything."
Leon smiled. "I wanted to. Besides, I had to get something to appease you when you found out I bought Cid some cigarettes."
She gasped quietly. "Leon! You're just enabling him!"
"…Well, the senile old man has stress," the gunblader began, only to quickly duck—and just barely avoided being clubbed by a wrench. Knowing that Cid might still go after him, he added, "I'll be outside if you need me."
About ten minutes later, Sora, Donald, and Goofy appeared, and Sora began tugging on his arm impatiently. "How long do we have to wait to leave again? Where are we going? Are there a lot of Heartless there? Will your clothes change again?"
"We have to wait until Cloud's clothes are clean, at least," Leon answered, swatting at him. "Stop that."
"So where are we going then? What's it called?"
"It's a place called Atlantica, now stop that."
"It sounds girly."
Leon sighed and leaned his face in his hand. "Let me assure you that it's not."
"Are your clothes gonna change again? …I couldn't help but notice you weren't wearing any underwear in Agrabah, and I'd rather have some warning beforehand," Sora explained, obediently letting go of his arm.
The gunblader couldn't help a blush at that. "Sorry; I have no control over what the magic of the gummi ship will do. But, considering what Atlantic is, all of us are going to have an outfit change."
"Oh. Will I still look cool?"
Leon did not point out that he did not look cool now with his red jumpsuit and big yellow shoes. It wasn't that he looked ugly or something; it was just that the jumpsuit was reminiscent of what a child would wear, so he could only ever look cute—sort of like a baby duck.
Well, a regular baby duck, anyway—nothing like Donald, at least.
Sora, Donald, and Goofy were in for a shock when they got to Atlantica.