Leon's brow arches in question.

"I'm making materia cookies for Sephiroth."

" … "

A pause.

"You're what?"

The right eye twitching, Cloud turned around in all his "KISS DA KOOK" glory before he minutely brandished a Hello Kitty spatula. "Nomura says it's my fault that he's in the hospital again."

" … for what reason?"

Shrugs after annoyance. "How was I supposed to know the difference between Pantene Pro-V and Fekkai? The bottles were both green and in the V.I.P. room."

Maybe pinching the bridge of his nose would alleviate the exasperation. "I'll help."

"Do what you want."

Now, the Marvin the Martian apron or Charlie the Unicorn …


"Please read instructions," the observant brunet repeated, slanting his eyes slightly to get a better view of the tiny print. "For the love of whatever nondenominational deity you believe in, please read, damn it."


Leon stood in silence. "Cloud, where did you obtain this cookie mix?"

"Does it matter?"

A pigeon cooed.

"I guess not."

"Okay, then, let's start."


"What step are you on?"

"I just started."

"Hn. Want me to read the instructions?"

"It'll help."

Leon narrowed his gaze. "Step one: Please take care of sanitation."

"I did."

One minute. "Perhaps you should wipe down the counter with Lysol."

"I did."

"Then why are there blue tentacles next to you?"

"It's part of the ingredients."

" … "


"Step two: Preheat the oven to three hundred and seventy-five degrees."

" … celcius or farhenheit?"

Brows raised. "You think I know?"

" … we'll just do whatever."


"Step three: obtain all ingredients—two large chocobo eggs, one cup of Estharian sugar, one cup of softened butter, one cup of raw cane sugar, three teaspoons of … "

Leon squinted. "Xylo … phoniumde …crockbackdoodlelalameemeekupo?"

"Yeah, I have some."

" … "

No comment.

"Two teaspoons of baking soda, a giant assortment of Kraken tentacles"—no doubt, the hideous ones wriggling on the cutting board—"one teaspoon of salt, three cups of all-purpose baking flour, one cup of Happy Griever malt, three sheets of meteorite chunkies, and seven orbs of melted materia."

"Got it."

A crease in his brow. "Melted materia?"

"What about it?"

"They sell that?"

"No, you just have to take it to the Northern Crater and stick it in there for a good ten minutes."

"What kind of mater—"

Dead hush.

"Cloud, where did you find the materia?"


"They were under the moogle pillows you washed last night—"


And then, revelation.

Cloud froze.

"I didn't know—"

"Land of the Dragons; Forbidden city, no magic, no accessories. Save your project when you're down."

And he walks out with Lionhart in tow.


Cloud looked back.

The batter winked at him.

" … Maybe I'll use the pelican cookie cutters next time … "


If he survived.