Hey girls, Mitsukai here again for another ongoing fic. Goddammit Mitsukai, finish your other fics before you start another one! *shot*
Anyway. This thing here was inspired by, as you saw from the title, Westlife's song, 'Uptown Girl', the Final Fantasy VII franchise, real history, and a shot of LSD. That, and I had a dream about Zack!Sanada meeting Aerith!Yukimura via falling through the ceiling as the original characters did in the game. So. After waking up, I was totally "SHIT! Plot bunny!" and this piece of literature was born. I don't understand my mind sometimes.
Their characterizations here, while keeping close to the PoT-canon, is going to be somewhat different because the way they were raised in this fic is different. So, expect swearing, OOCness, and all that jazz. This is one of the more self-indulgent fics I had stored up, so don't kill me if it isn't your cup of tea. This is AU too, so don't expect the normal Japanese honorifics. So, disclaimers, not mine, and enjoy. *bows*
Ochre eyes watched a figure from the corner of his eye, not moving from his place where he perched on a stack of crates, one foot resting lightly on the edge of the wooden box, a tanned, muscular arm resting nonchalantly on his propped knee, a hand stretched out behind him to give him some leverage. His intense, ruggedly handsome look earned him many admiring gazes from the girls passing by the crowded street, his gaze never wavering, though he was still watchful of his surroundings, half expecting to be called back in the pier to work again.
"Oi, Sanada, stop spacing out." A purposefully heavy smack on his tucked in thigh sent his whole leg dangling down with the other, and he quickly looked down, sending a glare at a bleached-blond male who only grinned infuriatingly, knowing that he had broken the sitting teen's concentration.
"Niou, what the hell?" He cursed the other teen loudly in his head, trying to search again for the person he had been looking at covertly for quite some time over the past few days. "I thought that you're helping then unload the cargo."
"Been there, done that." Niou looked at his cuticles interestedly, before looking up and smirking wickedly at his friend. "Traded with the new brat for a couple of hours. You know he's been looking for a chance to upstage you. Puri."
"Akaya?" Sanada rolled his eyes. "He's a hundred years too early, but he could try." He gave Niou a level look. "And you know he can't carry that much yet."
"Hey, I gotta let the brat try it for himself." Niou shrugged back. "If he's lucky, he'd be able to carry all those stuff into the warehouse without breaking his back and tripping over himself."
Sanada only grunted his reply, resuming his original position again; relaxing his body as he finally saw that person once again, never leaving his original position in the intersection three blocks where the two of them were standing. He really wasn't worried about any possible competition in the line of his work; he doubted if there was anyone who could carry two full grown oxen with their bare hands and not break a sweat over it.
There was a reason he was called the 'Emperor' among the pier boys, after all, and no upstart, cocky brat would be able to take it away from him.
"Hey, Sanada! Where are you looking at, you asshole?" Niou, who had been talking for some time and had just realized that the other teen wasn't even listening to him, scowled and also looked towards the direction the dark-haired teen was constantly flickering his eyes over on, and felt a shit-eating grin crack his face slowly as he recognized who his coworker had been looking at.
"Holy shit." He let himself blow out a low whistle of appreciation, smiling cheekily when the older teen finally noticed and gave him a death glare. Ignoring the murderous look, Niou craned his head higher, almost leveling with Sanada's head as he confirmed his suspicions right.
"Pupina… You're mooning over the flower girl." Niou started to cackle, snorting louder when Sanada's cheeks turned into the slightest shade of pink, ducking a well-timed swipe at his head as he laughed his guts out.
"I am not." Sanada grumbled a protest, which would have been more convincing if he had been looking at Niou instead of the 'flower girl'. "And don't call him that, he's not a girl."
"But he usually doesn't mind when he's being called that. The kids by the pier call him the 'pretty big sister with the pretty flowers'." Niou continued to snigger, noticing the way Sanada's eyes lit up at the information. "He's a pretty nice guy too. Always giving more than most people paid for."
"Wait… you've talked to him?" Sanada asked, unable to mask the incredulity in his voice. Niou could be terribly anti-social if he wanted to, opting to stay in his circle of the 'cargo boys' and the people who work by the pier, which was both a good and a bad thing, since he never brings trouble to other people, but brought worse problems with the people he's working with.
"No shit, Sherlock." Niou shrugged it off like it was nothing, guffawing internally at the sudden spark of jealousy in Sanada's eyes. "He's the flower girl on this side of the city, 'ter all. What, you think I'm gonna go to a fucking florist?" Niou made a gagging face. "'Sides, 'Roshi told me he liked 'Mura's flowers best."
Sanada resisted another urge to roll his eyes at the mention of Niou's on-and-off boyfriend… fuck buddy was more like it. Only hell knew how they both met each other. Yagyuu Hiroshi was the illegitimate son of the person they're working for, and if their boss knew that one of his laborers was screwing with his son, they're fucked. In more ways than one.
"'Mura?" Sanada asked, having processed the sentence in his head, earning an 'are-you-stupid' expression from Niou.
"'Mura." Niou slowly enunciated the word, as if he was a teacher talking to a five-year old. "His name. The flower girl. The one you're stalking. Whatever you want to call it." He further elaborated. That got him a knock to the head, but he was still grinning as Sanada brooded over the new information, once again taking a glance at the 'flower girl'.
"… You know; if you're interested in him, better make a move soon." Niou told him idly after a few moments of silence. That got Sanada's attention.
"What makes you think he's interested in guys? And don't me that damn look," Sanada scowled at Niou, who was starting to form the aforementioned 'are-you-stupid' look on his face. "I'll give you 20 lbs. more to carry." And Niou knew that Sanada would damn well make good on that promise.
"Well hell, I would be surprised if he went after girls!" Niou laughed. "He sells flowers." His tone dripped 'duh'. "And 'sides," He observed the blue-haired male more carefully, leaning in for a conspiratorial whisper, which Sanada surprised himself by actually getting closer to listen in. "I heard that he likes his men strong. Strong and buff, with the abs and shit." Niou squeezed the curled bicep, which was highlighted by the sleeveless t-shirt Sanada usually wore when working. "You're definitely his type." The bleached teen affirmed, his tone turning smug, even when the taller teen raised his eyebrow in disbelief.
"There you are!" A sudden voice interrupted their conversation, and the two of them turned to the direction where the voice came from, their vision meeting curly black hair and piercing emerald eyes. Kirihara Akaya folded his arms and scowled at the two of them, who were clearly not doing any work, looking very much like a girl waiting for her boyfriend if not for the fact that his body muscles are bulging slightly under the form fitting shirt he wore.
"Hey pipsqueak." Niou grinned, while Sanada hopped off the crate with the grace and the ferocity of a mountain lion. As much as he wanted to just stay there and waste the hours looking at the 'flower girl', he knew that duty was calling him.
Besides, his break was over already.
"Bossman wanted you two in the pier. A new ship just came in." Akaya's green eyes looked challengingly at the older raven, who had slipped once again into his usual mask of hardassness, ignoring the other male completely, who was whistling a completely merry tune.
Sanada grunted as the last crate greeted the dusty floor of the warehouse, moving his neck left and right to alleviate some of the tension on his neck and back, having transported at least one-fourth of the ship's cargo by himself. Damn it, it was the third ship this afternoon, and with any luck, more would come later in the day. He had to fight the smirk off his face as he remembered their devil brat trying to balance two barrels in his arms, like Sanada did effortlessly. In a ridiculously good mood, he made to go outside again, just to see if the beautiful 'flower girl' was still there.
"Genichirou, good work." A voice said from somewhere above him, and Sanada looked up, watching a tall, brunet male descend down the steps of the warehouse.
"Renji." Sanada stared in slight surprise. "I thought you're with your old man."
"I managed to convince him to let me stay." Yanagi Renji (or Lord Yanagi as his father insisted they call his son) was the first son of the person they're working for, the half-brother of Yagyuu and Sanada's best friend. Despite the fact that he was a rich kid, the pier boys accepted him as one of their own, being the person who had brought them jobs in the first place, and occasionally helping in the loading and unloading of cargo himself. "Father wanted me to oversee the goods anyway."
Unlike the other teens in Yanagi's status of nobility, he was down-to-earth and good-natured, though he freaked them out sometimes by suddenly saying a weird percentage or another which would turn out to be right. He was never afraid to get down and dirty, frequently spending time with the dock laborers after dark, always rising to the challenge of a drinking contest or a brawl, and ultimately respected and treated all of them as human beings, not like the spoiled brats who turned their noses up at them and walked past without as much as a glance.
Sanada made a non-committal noise, massaging his nape as the tension on his body slowly disappeared. "And he's not arranging your marriage anymore?"
Yanagi smiled slightly and shrugged. "As a matter of fact, there has been a discussion on my potential fiancée." He arrived at the bottom of the staircase, looking at the stacked crates with interest. "In fact, the trip today was supposed to be my first meeting with her."
This was one of the times that Sanada was glad that he wasn't born into such a high status. Despite him knowing that Renji and his family was one of the nicer aristocratic families, nobles in general had less than savory reputations, even Renji's father who caused a scandal by having another son (Yagyuu) out of wedlock.
"Ah." Sanada really didn't have to say anything to that, as he silently watched Yanagi inspect the cargo, once in a while glancing at the sheets of paper he had with him. "How's Niou?" Yanagi asked casually, changing the topic completely.
"Hell if I know." Sanada remembered the conversation he had with his coworker and had to stop himself from scowling openly in front of the other male. Yanagi was also terribly perspective, instantly knowing more than anyone else let him on for, and that was the last thing Sanada wanted. "Didn't you ask your brother?"
"Hiroshi is very secretive about his love life with Niou." Yanagi answered with a wry smile. "He manages to tell me enough, of course. It's terribly obvious that he's very smitten with Niou." Even with the fact that the conception of Yagyuu Hiroshi tore the Yanagi family apart, Renji didn't blame his younger brother one bit, and the Yanagi siblings adored their half-brother, with the brunet always quipping that he had always wanted a younger sibling, even though he and Yagyuu were merely a few months apart. "I always see him staring fondly at the white flowers Niou manages to give him." And Sanada could clearly see that Yanagi approved of his younger brother's relationship with another man, no matter how wrong it seemed in the eyes of the world.
Sanada wasn't the one to gossip about his fellow workers, but he found this information very intriguing, and he'd be damned and if he didn't hear all of it. "So they're not just…?"
"Friends with benefits?" Yanagi finished his question in that uncanny way of his, making Sanada nod, already used to it already. Fucking would be the more appropriate term he was looking for, but Sanada had to remind himself that Yanagi was a noble, and thus wouldn't resort to such crass language. Not usually, anyway.
"No, it's not just a onetime relationship, I'm sure." The brunet answered matter-of-factly, at last done with all the checking and inspection. "Niou is just as smitten with my brother just as Hiroshi is for him." He walked outside the warehouse and immediately Sanada followed, walking side by side as Yanagi greeted all of the other workers genially, receiving good natured cheers in return while ribbing Sanada for a bit, which the raven returned with a scowl.
"How can you be sure?" Sanada asked the moment they were alone again.
Yanagi gave him a feral smile that Sanada was sure was meant to be threatening than assuring. "I wouldn't let Niou near him if that was the case."
Sanada was thankfully saved from further conversation as a mop of curly black hair approached where they were standing, and eventually Kirihara Akaya came into view, chest heaving, breath puffing out as emerald green eyes flashed pointedly at Sanada, not even noticing their boss beside him as he glared darkly.
"Where the hell have you been, you asshole?" Sanada rolled his eyes as the younger teen cursed at him, not really the person to enforce respect when he really wasn't the type of person to give a damn about it. He did worry about Yanagi's reaction, but when he saw that the brunet was openly amusing himself, he remembered that Yanagi was used to it.
"Didn't your mom tell you to don't butt in when two people are talking, brat?" He scowled back and heard Yanagi's chuckle beside him. "Especially when you're in front of your boss."
"What the hell are you talking abo–" And when the younger raven finally saw the tall lord and by all technicalities their superior standing there with them, he choked and scrambled back as quickly as he could, falling flat on his ass in his haste as he stuttered.
"Shit! I didn't know–Sorry boss, I… argh, damn it, I really–" Yanagi, still chuckling, bent down and raised his hand to help the younger boy up. "No, it's all right. Are you all right?" He asked, smiling kindly. Akaya's face seemed to spontaneously combust as he nodded and meekly took the older teen's hand, as he, for the first time, was at a loss for words.
"That's good." And with a strength that wasn't expected to be shown by a willowy body, Yanagi pulled him up effortlessly. "Renji would be just fine. And I don't think I've seen you around here before. What's your name?"
"K-Kirihara Akaya, sir." The younger raven squeaked out, and Sanada had to restrain the smirk that threatened to break out from his face as the brunet turned on the charm and the teen that was supposed to be completing against him turn into a puddle of goo. "Renji, don't flirt with him. He's still young." He called out, and Akaya seemed to jump ten feet as he gave Sanada a dark look behind his flushed cheeks. Renji looked up, a twinkle in his closed eyes, and let Akaya go.
"Genichirou, that was rude." Yanagi admonished him lightly when Akaya finally made his escape. "I was trying to get to know him better."
"If you're anything like your old man I would say that you're trying to romance him." Sanada grunted. "Renji, he's fifteen."
"And we're seventeen. Hardly an age difference, if you ask me." Yanagi pointed out, and Sanada had to resist the urge to bang his head onto something hard. Sometimes felt so stupid when he talked to the lord, and he wondered if Yanagi intentionally did it to annoy him.
"Genichirou, I have a request to ask of you." The words were so sudden, and Sanada was to blink twice before he could understand it.
"Depends on that kind of request it is."
"It's simple, really." Yanagi wasn't looking at him, but at the direction Akaya sped off to. "Can I ask you to buy a gift for me?"
Instantly Sanada became suspicious. "A gift?" He asked slowly, as if making sure that he was hearing the noble correctly.
"I suspect that I'll be meeting my fiancée tomorrow. Father hasn't said anything, but, judging by his moves, he'll surprise me by having her come over. But I'll be busy today with the shipments coming in. Flowers, maybe?" Yanagi suggested lightly, not seeing Sanada's slowly blanching face. "Yes, flowers. You could never be wrong with flowers." He nodded to himself, turning to Sanada with a small smile on his face.
"Can I trust you with this, Genichirou?"
... I know you're gonna kill me for butchering Sanada's personality, but I can't help it. Like I said, this is a self-indulging fic, so don't scream at me on how this is morally wrong and all that. My uh... *coughs and blushes* lover was insistent that I back to writing again because uh... that person told me that it would be a waste of my talents.
... You'll get the full story next chapter...
So, in chapter 2, our favorite cargo boy finally meets the 'flower girl', and more mishaps, and a lot of budding romance will happen among our favorite crew of pier boys. I don't know how long this fic would be, but I'm hoping for the best.
Read and review eveyone.