Quiet: BECAUSE I HAD NOTHING ELSE TO DO TODAY AND BECAUSE I LOVE XIAA'S COMICS. Also, Cloud is loosely modeled after Brer Rabbit and Peter Cottontail. Tricksters ftw! Fic is a continuation of this comic (which I strongly advise that you read):
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters. Not even the idea of them in this fic sadly, lol.
"H-Hey! Where are we going?!" the little rabbit in his mouth demanded with nervous anger.
Of course Zack, his mouth full of his squirming bundle couldn't rightly reply, but he was sure that the arch look he aimed at the fluffy-tailed rabbit was pretty self explanatory.
"Oh sure," the little bunny scoffed, ears laid flat as it dangled from Zack's mouth, occasionally being jostled by Zack's bounding steps. "I'm well aware of what you want, but I'd like to at least know the name of the one who interrupted my perfect meal to make a meal out of me."
The young wolf stopped, puzzled by the rabbit's apparent talkativeness and the indignant tone. Well, Angeal had always told him it was rude to talk with his mouth full…
Gently, he grasped the bunny by the back of his shirt and held him aloft; sure he was nice enough to indulge the little guy, but he wasn't stupid…even if Genesis seemed to think so.
He met a challenging stare from the little rabbit head on, slightly impressed by the expectant look on his face despite the nervousness he could smell. "I'm Zack," he declared. "And this is my first hunt. So now can we go back to the den please?"
A surge of hope bloomed in the bunny's chest as he painted an enlightened expression on his face, mind racing with various ways to get himself out of this situation. "So that's why you were so inexperienced and rude! And here I thought you were some idiot that didn't have a lick of sense behind those pointy ears of yours," the bunny said. "I'm Cloud, by the way. Which you would have known if you'd stopped to ask!"
Feeling thoroughly chastened, and with no idea of why, Zack felt his ears flatten and his tail droop as he looked at his catch. "…I was being rude? And stupid? What did I do wrong?" he asked anxiously.
Oh boy, he is an idiot, Cloud thought, resisting the urge to grin. "Well, couldja let me down first?" he asked patiently. "It's rather rude to carry on a conversation with someone whilst restraining them, y'know. Then again, wolves these days aren't exactly raised to be polite…"
"That's not true!" Zack cried, hastily sitting the little bunny onto the ground. "Angeal's always going on about respecting the prey and being patient and not being cruel to what you catch!"
"Oh?" Cloud asked in mock interest, trying to resist the instincts screaming at him to run away far and fast as soon as he was placed on the ground. He knew better than that, it'd be like waving a juicy steak in front a wolf's nose and expecting it to sit still and wait like a domestic dog. No, he had to plan this out and time it just right…
"Well, you might need to pay a bit more attention, because you're doing it wrong!" the bunny pointed out primly.
"I am?" the wolf asked in a small voice.
"A real wolf wouldn't have just ambushed me like that," Cloud started, blatantly lying through his teeth.
"A real wolf would've waited until I was done eating or maybe even helped me get a few more good clovers before inviting me for dinner, you know? A full, happy meal is easier to handle," Cloud said, trying his best not to laugh at the wolf's eager expression.
He must be really young, he thought, because he's soaking up this bullshit like it's the best thing he's ever heard!
The young wolf frowned. "Well what would you have done, Mr. Know-It-All?"
"Well, first, I wouldn't have stalked around like a creeper; I would've politely come up and made friends with you; then," Cloud continued, warming to the task of confusing the poor wolf, "I would provide something to eat for my new friend and take them back home with me and let them get all comfortable and lazy. And then—"
"And then eat them?" Zack said, a slight frown on his face. "That sounds a lot different from what Angeal, Gen, and Seph have been trying to teach me."
Cloud huffed, his hands going to his hips as he stared up at Zack. "And what have they taught you so far? How to scare a poor rabbit half to death and snatch him from his favorite patch like a common bandit?"
Thoughtfully, Zack lightly scratched behind his ear as he pondered the bunny's words. Something about this was awfully suspicious; he'd never heard anything like this from Angeal and the older wolf was always after him to pay attention when he took Zack along on hunts…
"Hey…how do you know all this anyway?" the he asked, staring down at the rabbit in open curiosity.
Taken aback, Cloud blinked for a moment, before casually reaching up to play with one of his ears, his brain racing for an excuse. "Er, well, I'm a magic rabbit! I've seen a lot of this stuff in my time, you know!"
Skepticism crossed Zack's face. Ok, something definitely was up now.
"Magic?" he asked, disbelief thick in his tone. "Now I think you're just yanking my tail here, little guy."
"Hmph," Cloud said, his face straight even as his heart doubled its rhythm in his chest. "I'll have you know I can disappear right now if I wanted to!"
"Yes, really! Close your eyes and say yippery dippery skippery diddly dee."
Zack hesitated, then narrowed his eyes. "If this doesn't work, then we're going to the den, no more talking, ok?"
"Sure," Cloud agreed, bouncing on the balls of his feet. "Now close your eyes and say it!"
"Ok," the wolf agreed, his lids sliding closed.
Exit, stage left, Cloud thought smugly, and bounded off as fast as he could.
"Yippery slippery, no that's not right. Yipperdy Dipperty ski—no, no, that wasn't right either. Yippery dippery skippery diddly dee—hey!" Zack cried as he opened his eyes and saw that his catch was long gone.
"Why that sneaky little rabbit! I gotta find him or else Gen will make fun of me! And Geal…he'll be so disappointed!"
With determination in his eyes, the wolf searched out for the scent of the rabbit and took off in pursuit, his steps light and swift.
"What an idiot!" Cloud snickered, finally having slowed his steps after making his way across the stream and snuck his way into the old ShinRa farm's cabbage patch. "Finally, I can eat in peace!"
Unfortunately for the little rabbit, he wasn't quite out of the woods just yet.
From the shadows of the woods, a sneaky fox watched, his attention riveted on the soft look of the rabbit. It'd be an easy catch—much easier than raiding the chicken coops he'd been scoping out earlier, but who says you could have a little fun with your food first?
After first checking to be sure that none of the farm hands were about, the fox snuck forward, his tail waving like a bright flagstaff in the earthy garden. He waited till he had gotten just behind the cute litte bunny before reaching out and placing a hand on his shoulder.
"I wouldn't eat that if I were you," he said in mock concern.
Startled, the rabbit squeaked and dropped his half-eaten cabbage as he made to hop away, but the fox had a firm hold of him, and merely made a light tsk.
"Hey, hey! Calm down! I'm just tryna tell ya that Ole man ShinRa's getting wise to you critters comin in here and eating his crops. He's been sprinkling poison around here, you know."
Cloud paled, his eyes travelling to the bite marks he'd left in the vegetable. Funny, it hadn't tasted any different…he gulped, trembling a bit in the fox's grip.
"Name's Reno," the fox said proudly, lightly patting the bunny's shoulders. "Don't worry, it doesn't look like you ate enough to kill you. If you want, I can show you a place in the woods where I saw a fresh patch of clovers."
Cloud wrinkled his nose in suspicion, eyes squinting as he took in the fox's apparently sincere smile. "How do I know you're not lying to me?"
"You don't," the fox said evenly, "but if I wanted to eat you, I'd just snap you up right now and no one would be the wiser."
As Cloud grew visibly worried, the fox grinned and patted him on the shoulder. "Relax, kid, I'm trying to be nice here. C'mon, I'll take you there."
Wary, the bunny hopped along in the fox's wake, his body tense and ready to flee at the first hint of malice, but when none came, he steadily began to relax.
Reno grinned as he led the way to his well-hidden den. Bunnies were always such sweet little trusting things…
He waited for the rabbit to pass by him and grinned before slowly reaching out to snag him by those long, fluffy ears…
"Hey, that's mine!" a voice snarled, and both fox and rabbit startled at the sight of a wolf bounding their way, teeth bared and intent on Cloud's form.
Noting the sudden jerk of his unwilling companion, Reno placed a heavy hand on Cloud's back, keeping him from fleeing as he watched the dark-furred wolf come to a panting stop before them.
"That's…my…rabbit…" the other male panted, and Reno arched his brows before looking down at the terrified bunny.
"Really? Sure doesn't seem like it. I found him on the ShinRa farm, and you know what they say, 'Finders keepers.'"
"No, he got away when…when I wasn't looking!" the wolf growled, reaching out to grab at Cloud, who squeezed his eyes shut. Luckily, Reno was not one to be easily intimidated, and narrowed his eyes at the wolf before shoving his hand to the side. "Well I have him now, and if you lost him earlier, then tough luck, buttsniffer."
"Um, there's an easier way to settle this you know."
The sound of Cloud's timid voice had both predators glancing down at him in annoyance. He cringed a bit at the looks, but merely shifted beneath Reno's hand and sighed. "Well, you could always race for me?"
Both looked skeptical at the idea while Cloud thought as hard as he could of a way to get rid of both of them before he ended up being fox or wolf chow. "Ok, how about the first one to get to the stream gets to have me? I'll start the countdown and then whoever wins has to come back for me."
"Pfft, a fox against a wolf? This'll be a breeze," Reno said, a smirk settling onto his face as he released Cloud and got into position.
"You're on!" Zack called back tail waving as he too readied himself.
Both were caught up in the moment of competition, they had completely forgotten about Cloud, who once again slipped away unnoticed, snickering at having outsmarted not one, but two predators—one of them twice.
He was one lucky bunny.
That is until he hopped right into something large and hard, which blinked sleepy green eyes at him before yawning, showing off a wonderful mouthful of sharp teeth. Silver furred ears twitched as the wolf he'd run into stared at him before lifting him and asking in a low, curious growl, "Why do you smell like Zack?"
Oh no, Cloud thought, not again.
His luck really sucked lately.
"Sephiroth," another voice , this one sounding sleepy and annoyed perked up. "Who the hell are you talking to?"
Cloud nearly had a heart attack as another wolf peered over the one he'd run into and then smirked at him.
"Carry out? You shouldn't have."
"He smells like Zack," the one called Sephiroth said, prompting the reddish furred wolf to snuffle curiously at Cloud, who strained away as best as he could when that nose got a little too personal.
"Well, so it does," the other wolf said, giving a full-fanged grin at Cloud. "So little one, how'd you get away from our so-eager puppy?"
Apparently having lost interest, the silver wolf handed Cloud over with a faint, "Here, Genesis," before rolling over and promptly going back to sleep.
"Lazy bastard," Genesis said affectionately as he lightly stroked at Cloud's shaking form. "Lucky for you, we already ate for fear of the puppy returning empty-handed."
"Zack's still not back?" another voice rumbled, sounding slightly worried. After a moment, a large dark wolf, nearly twice the size of the other two came forward and stared down at the poor rabbit.
By this point, Cloud was ready to lie on a dinner plate and write his own epitaph, because obviously things were not going to get better.
"No," Genesis said smugly, "but apparently he sent home a gift to tide us over. Too bad for him, I suppose."
"Uh, h-he wanted me to find you and tell you that he's found something really, really big and nice, but he couldn't leave it alone because it might get stolen!"
Skeptical interest lit Genesis's eyes, and even Sephiroth had opened an eye to stare. The big wolf, whom Cloud assumed was 'Geal' merely tilted his head. "He told a rabbit to come and find us? What the hell could he be thinking?" the big male griped.
"I think he should take us to him, Angeal," Genesis chimed in, raising hopeful eyes to the biggest wolf.
Looking a bit unsure, Angeal sighed before motioning Genesis to let Cloud go. "Ok, lead the way."
Groaning, the silver furred wolf rose to his feet, "If you're lying," he managed between another monstrous yawn, "I'll eat you myself for ruining my nap."
"Glutton," Genesis accused in amusement.
"I'll take you there," Cloud said, heart racing as he prepared for the flight of his life, "but first…did you know that I'm a magic rabbit?"