"These are …"


" … Right. Yeah. Pancakes. They look … good."

"Are you patronizing me?"



In the beginning, it had been his hand, and his hand only. In the beginning, it had been his way, and his way only. In the beginning, he had been one man, and one man only.

At six a.m., it had been his toothbrush, and the other one, maybe. At one p.m., it had been his construction plans, and a bite off of that sandwich while the latter wasn't looking. At seven p.m., he had fought off the heartless, and it had been two clashes of steel instead of one.

He looks at the clock on the nightstand. He looks at the penetrating gaze in front. He looks at the floppy lump in the mattress.

He sees one in two—two to be one.

And Cloud smiles.


\ Rubbing his jaw, Cloud drew himself up off of the ground and climbed back up on the bed for the thousandth time that night.

One thing he knew for sure: Leon was a kicker.

And he nearly killed him, too.


Rocks, apparently, were supposed to grant wishes; Leon never really believed in that outrageous myth, but secretly as a child, a memory too foggy to explicitly recall, he had somehow kept that old tale to his heart. He thinks he used to shove pocketfuls of gravel and grit into his pockets—though, he isn't quite taken by the revelation of doing that.

It slips from his mouth that day, worn, tired, and slightly agitated at the idea of a reckless moogle accidently flinging a giant construction hammer in his direction, and actually wounding his thigh. Cloud stands watch over him like an ominous shadow, and though he does not really look in his direction, he refuses to leave, to even take twenty steps away from Leon's uncomfortable seating in Merlin's ancient couch. So, he tells him that little fool's belief after realizing that his awkward fall had managed to get him rocks in his pockets, to pass time in a makeshift crutch padded with toilet paper: And obviously, he wasn't surprised to see the younger man look at him in candid expectancy to see the point of this foolishness—he himself didn't know why he said those words. Thus, Cloud abruptly taking off after the gibberish was self-explanatory

In the morning, waking up with a horrible ache in his lower back, Leon stumbles off of the couch into the kitchen; there is a strange chain of sounds, an obnoxious cacophony, that grates at his ears and pulls his temples tight enough to give him the first chronic migraine that day. He looks all around for the source, but he can't find it inside the building, and for the umpteenth time, Leon feels older than his twenty-five years, staring at the sleeping faces of the committee members sleeping like the dead—even Merlin's snores are fraternizing with saw blades. Thus, he steps outside.

And sees grey.

With black and blue. A little red, white, and purple. Bits and pieces of colors that obscured his entire vision through the front door—but the backdrop is mostly grey.

"They come true," he suddenly hears. "They have to come true."

So, then, he looks up, and sees the man who was missing the entire day—the man who he thought did not even bother. He sees Cloud perched on top of that grayness: in which, the mottled canvas was a boulder the size of a hill, and the portrait stretched out to contain a myriad of these behemoths. Cloud gazes at him amidst a sea of thousands and thousands of giant rocks and stone, amidst a sea of strong determination and credence. He looks at him simply—he looks at the eight-year-old, he looks at that little kid hidden away, and he shows him that kid with fifty rocks in his pockets.

He loses words. He can't speak.

But he can grasp.


His leg does not burn so much, anymore. His wound feels warm.

"I believe in it, too."

And his wish did come true.


"That was foul. This race is called off."

"No, it wasn't."

"That was foul."

"Are you looking properly? The finish line was crossed."

"I did."

"It seems as if you didn't."

"Look at your bird, Strife. It took off flying."

"Actually, Marty is a pelican; second of all, it has wings. It flies. What else is he supposed to do?"

"It was supposed to walk. Like Daniel."

"Lobsters don't walk. They scuttle. And pelicans, in this case, waddle."

"Did you just say 'waddle'?"


" … I want my fifty gil back."


"And Daniel is a coconut crab. Get it right."