The metal corridors under Radiant Garden had excellent acoustics, and the sounds of two exuberant voices reached Leon's ears long before he could actually see the speakers. One, he recognized immediately as Sora. The second took longer, but he finally identified it as Zack – Aerith's boyfriend and Cloud's best friend, discovered a few weeks before in one of the many underground labs. How the man could be so cheerful and upbeat after spending two years locked in a tube eluded Leon, but he could only surmise it was something innate to Zack's personality, similar to Sora's almost unfailing optimism. That the two had hit it off when they met was a shock to no one.
"Your turn, kid," Zack's voice was friendly, with just a touch of teasing as it bounced around the walls.
"This is so unfair!" in response, Sora's tone was decidedly... sullen, something Leon didn't think he'd ever heard before.
"C'mon! I showed you the cactuar, the magic pot, the chocobo, and the silly dancing cat. Now give."
Leon turned a corner, and the unseen discussion became briefly indistinguishable. Not that the few sentences he'd heard made much sense. And what were Zack and Sora doing down here in the computer core anyway? Perhaps Tron had contacted Sora about the same minor emergency he'd reported to Cid. While the irascible engineer was fantastic with computers, and Leon was no slouch, Sora was still the only one willing to send his entire being into the system at a moment's notice. If Sora had already taken care of the problem, that would explain why the alarms weren't sounding, either.
A few turns later, and Zack's voice became crystal clear again.
"That's it? He throws balls at people?" the words were laced with incredulous laughter.
"And the little alien with the ray gun just plays the ukulele? Dude... it's a lucky thing that you're so good with that keyblade, because you've been seriously short changed in the summons department."
"Tell me about it." Sora sighed, and seemed to expel his dark mood with the exhale. "Although you shouldn't laugh too hard. Your tonberry is a klutz, and have you seen what that cactuar dance looks like?"
Another laugh echoed through the complex. "You're just jealous. Besides, you haven't seen the real firepower yet. If you thought Odin was impressive, just wait until you see Bahamut Fury."
Leon's eyes widened, and he increased his pace. Surely a professional soldier – even one as flippant as Zack – knew better than to play with such powerful summons?
Sora's tone was skeptical. "How do you top something that can instantly kill all of your enemies?"
"Oi!" Zack's was mildly chiding. "I didn't say it was more powerful, I said it was more impressive. Odin is quietly purposeful. Bahamut is loud and flashy. Watch!"
And that's when Leon broke into a run. He made it to Ansem's circular study just as the sound of an explosion echoed through the underground complex, the shockwaves and disruption similar to a minor earthquake. Struggling for balance, he continued across the room and down the hall to the computer terminal. It was – thankfully – in one piece, but dark and inoperative. Shut down.
"That. Was. Amazing!"
Sora's exclamation jerked his attention away from the heart and soul of Radiant Garden's security system. Stalking over to the open manufactory door, he stood for a moment and catalogued the wide array of weapon scars, energy burns and pockmarks on the walls and floor. There was no longer a doubt in Leon's mind that he'd found the 'minor emergency' Tron had reported to Cid. It was fairly obvious that the two over-zealous idiots beside the largest and (judging by the glow of cooling metal) most recent crater were the reason the AI had complained of a danger to its hardware.
Note to self: discuss the meanings of 'minor' and 'emergency' with Tron, and the proper uses of each with respect to Zack and Sora.
The sound of his boot heels on the metal floor interrupted their laughter, and both man and teen turned to face him. He didn't have to say a word. Going pale under their tans, they each raised a hand to point at the other.
"It was his idea."