Quiet: wewt! exams are finally over and I made As! (dances) Well, in celebration, I decided to start a new fic! This one's a little different, since it's been inspired by the manga, Her Majesty's Dog. Anyway, hope you guys like it!

Disclaimer: Quiet N Cryptic does not own either FFVII's or Her Majesty's Dog's characters.


Partners

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What does one do, Cloud wondered, when they are so nervous, rivulets of sweat start soaking their ceremonial robes and making their hands shake?

In an effort to calm himself, Cloud wiped his clammy palms and took a deep breath like his mother had always told him to when he was stressed; it helped to slow his frantic heartbeat as he stood in the center of the summoning circle, nervously awaiting the tribe elder's signal to begin.

His mother was standing anxiously on the outer edge of the Circle, her eyes fierce as she glared daggers at her father for making Cloud go through the ceremony at such a young age. Rayne Strife had pleaded with them to give her son at least two more years of training, that way, he'd be eighteen and more than ready to handle the essence exchange that comes with binding a wild guardian to its destined, but her people's desperation had overridden her own wishes.

Most Tamers were trained from birth to use subdual and exorcism magic to find a compatible demonic partner and use their assistance to hunt down the dregs of the Otherworld that would rather kill and subjugate humans than allow themselves to blend in and live peacefully with them. Cloud's case was different: as the last child of the Strife Tamers since his mother's time, the elders were desperate to offer a new Tamer to their patron goddess, Minerva, so they had accordingly blessed and pressured her baby boy with divine protection and hard training.

Cloud took a deep breath, trying his best to make his mother and sensei proud as he focused on centering himself on the energies of the spirit teleportation circle for the journey to come. He opened his eyes and stared unflinchingly at the clan elder, who looked both guilty and grudgingly respectful of his progress.

The man walked forward, a scroll hanging in his hands as he knelt on the edge of the circle.

"Are you ready, Cloud? Once I activate the circle, your spiritual form will not be allowed to leave until you've bonded with your destined."

No, I'm not, I never have been and I never will be, he almost said, but he bit his tongue instead to hold back the fearful protests and nodded obediently. Even if he was frightened, he couldn't leave his mother to face the clan in shame, knowing that her son had followed in his father's cowardly footsteps and disappointed their goddess.

Cloud would not fail.

Satisfied, the older man signaled to the elderly head priest, who stepped forward and gave a kind, sympathetic smile to Cloud before beginning the Saint's chant, his ceremonial staff held high, as he gathered his aged spiritual energy inside the tip of the staff.

Hric ruhn frusc ulfrend,

(One who watches from above)

Sprius freu lihnd vehn sec

(With spirits bound to hearts pure)

Krut uhn Ghuntemaan slihf

(Lead our lost Journeyman)

Sprius hrunt wreif djafe lyoc.

(Let his spirit hunt swift and true.)

The blond tensed as the man stood before him, the pulse of his drawn energy pressing solidly against his body; he knew what was coming next, but he would face his fate like a true Tamer of the Strife clan. No hesitating, no running away.

Pleased with the stubborn glint in his eyes, the priest gathered the heavily jeweled head of the staff and pushed everything he had into the Goddess Eye perched at its tip; then, with a sudden force that startled him into a gasp, he struck Cloud in the center of his chest.

With a sense of detachment, Cloud could only fleetingly describe the feeling that followed; it was like someone had pushed him off a cliff, and he only realized that the reason for that was that his spirit form, made entirely of his ki, was falling backwards into the darkness of the Otherworld under the teleportation circle, dragging his conscious mind with it. It was the most unusual sensation he'd ever felt, like someone had pushed him and he was gently floating, but unable to correct his position or stop his fall; it was uncomfortable as hell.

Pray to the Goddess for light and guidance, he heard the many voices of his clan say as his descent into the otherworld blocked their voices from his hearing.


Zakkusu the Koma Oni was Bored. Yeah sure it was great being a powerful demon with all the trimmings, but what fun was it if he couldn't do anything with that power? Staring at the false night sky, the demon wished for the millionth time that he could go back to the Overworld—it was getting ridiculous, him spending all his days staring at the shadow barrier that disguised itself as a sky that no demon could pierce without outside interference. Hell, even that shooting star was looking like a barrel of laughs right—wait. Shooting star? Since when did those show up in this world?

Lifting his head from his paws in interest, Zack watched as the shining light descended slowly towards the spiritual plane. His instincts were practically screaming at him to go investigate, but he was understandably wary of anything bright and shiny that wasn't still.

He may have been a little distracted, but he hadn't gotten to live to five hundred by being an idiot.

Still, he found himself standing and loping off with swift grace toward the distant light, his eyes carefully tracking its progress through the "sky." At the rate that thing was going, it was gonna land somewhere in the Forbidden Forest; if that was the case…the Oni gave a feral grin as he hurried his stride to the anticipated area.

All the more reason to drop in on a few friends.


Quiet: ok, just a few notes for those of you who had no clue about what was going on.

Manatsukai(master of names)- has the power to control others using their true name. If you've ever read Her Majesty's Dog, then you'll know that this is the name of the people that control the Koma Oni in the manga. In this fic's case, there are many different clans that are manatsukai, but they all specialize in different things. Cloud (Kuraudo) is the last of the Strife Clan, and as such, is the last one that they have to train and carry on the family name.

Zakkusu Fea-this is Zack's name in Japanese, so I'll be using it as his "true name" in a sense. Meaning, this will be the name rarely used, unless for subjugation purposes. Any other time, he will refer to himself as "Zack".