What it Takes to Come Alive

By Rhino7

Disclaimer: I don't own Kingdom Hearts, its characters or storyline. These ditties are mine, as is Jake Alms, who makes a small cameo in this pilot chapter. For anyone who's read my previous ditty collections (Good Enough for Me and These Lines of Lightning) this collection will follow the same format.

This series will revolve around the Restoration Committee and Radiant Garden in general. After writing a lot of darker and angsty stories, I'm taking a break for more humor with this. The purpose of this fic is mostly friendship, but some pairings may sneak in there if prompted. While I lean toward LeonxTifa and CloudxAerith, I'm not opposed to other pairings. But I do not write yaoi or yuri.

The title of this fic comes from a line from Rihanna's song "We Found Love". I rarely listen to radio, but recently this song has been following me around, so I drew from it. No ownership or affiliation!



001 – What Do Tigers Dream of?

Dawn broke bright and vengeful over Radiant Garden. With the fall of Organization XIII and the restoration of the worlds, the Restoration Committee had deemed the night ripe for a celebratory party.

Well, Yuffie and Aerith had done most of the deeming, Leon and Cid had done most of the lukewarm heavy lifting, leaving Merlin to getting the word out to everybody in town. Tifa had gotten roped into mixing drinks for the party.

So…basically this was Tifa's fault.

Aerith was the first to wake up the morning after the party, blinking in the sunlight that was pouring through the open windows of Merlin's house. She was lying on her stomach on the battered little couch, with a perfect view of the pyramid of red plastic cups stacked on the coffee table.

With a groan, she pushed herself up into a sitting position, assessing the devastation to the headquarters of the Restoration Committee. As soon as she lowered her feet to the floor, the floor grunted and rolled away from her. She yelped and lifted her feet, looking down.

"Yuffie?" She muttered hoarsely, rubbing her head and finding that her hair was matted and stiff on one side of her skull.

The young ninja also pushed herself up and blinked owlishly at Aerith. She squinted one eye. "What time is it?"

Aerith gingerly got up, looking toward the clock on the wall. "Nearly ten in the morning."

"What HAPPENED last night?" Yuffie held her head with both hands, standing up just long enough to sit back down on the couch that Aerith had vacated.

"Um…" Aerith glanced around again. "…I'm a little afraid to find out."

There was a game of Monopoly set up on the table, a mess of playing cards splashed across the coffee table. Cans of spray paint were piled up near the trash can, and there was a full sized canoe in the hallway.

Aerith stepped over the canoe and into the back kitchen area, where the first thing she saw was a pile of strangers asleep on the floor…mostly women. Not recognizing any of them, she noted the beer pong set up on the kitchen table, along with the alphabet magnets arranged on the fridge to spell 'key in ice'…whatever that meant.

Moving out of the kitchen, she went upstairs and looked in the guest bedroom, only to jump back with a yelp of surprise. There was Cloud, sitting on the floor, one wrist handcuffed to the tire spokes of Fenrir…which was parked in the middle of the room. Cloud's head was tilted back, dead asleep, and snoring like a banshee with his mouth hanging open. Gawking, Aerith walked into the room and kicked one of Cloud's boots. He snorted and jerked back to awakeness, blinking in rapid succession before looking at her.

"Aerith?" He grunted, pausing when he found his wrist shackled. Looking back, his eyes widened at Fenrir. "How did—" He looked back to her. "This is the second floor, right?"

Aerith put her hands on her hips, "Care to explain?"

Cloud rubbed his eyes with his free hand. "The…last thing I remember is Tifa's flaming dragon drinks…Did we all drink those?"

Aerith grimaced, "My hangover says yes." She touched her head again.

Cloud jiggled his wrist again and looked at the handcuff. "Then how did I end up—"

"You were babbling like an idiot about someone stealing your precious bike." Came a muddled voice from the bed in the room.

Both Aerith and Cloud looked over to see Tifa dragging herself out from under the blankets. She was wearing a brown fur coat and massive purple stiletto heels and—

"Is that my dress?" Aerith stared at the pink under Tifa's coat.

Tifa looked down at herself and then at Aerith before back to Cloud. "—So I just handcuffed you to the thing to shut you up."

Aerith looked down at herself and found that she was wearing Tifa's black outfit. How had she not noticed THAT until now? She found the mirror and looked at it. There was a long streak of dark blue in her hair, and—

"Where are my eyebrows?" She shrieked.

Both Cloud and Tifa groaned with the alcohol-headache at her raised voice.

"And where are the keys to these?" Cloud snapped.

"I gave the key to Leon." Tifa replied, looking to Aerith. "Oh crap, you don't have eyebrows."

Aerith stared at her reflection in horror. "What happened to me?"

Cloud pointed at her. "That's right. You drank the flaming dragon. Then, after—that happened, none of the rest of us tried it."

Mortified tears hit Aerith's eyes, and Tifa climbed out of bed.

"Sorry about that…I'll go find Leon to get the keys." She staggered past.

Aerith heard her trip on something in the hallway, followed by: "Where did this canoe come from?"

With a sigh, Aerith left Cloud where he was and went to the bathroom. She splashed water on her face and brushed her teeth to get rid of the aftertaste in her mouth. As she surveyed the damage to her eyebrows in the mirror, she saw the reflection of the wall behind her, where a paintball gun had been mounted.

"I hate parties." Yuffie was stuffing ice from the freezer in a bag to put on her head when Aerith came back downstairs. "I barely remember what happened last night…"

"I remember everything." A voice stated.

Both Aerith and Yuffie looked up and shrieked, jumping back. A grown man had been duct taped to the ceiling, staring down at them.

"Jake?" Yuffie stomped her feet.

The pile of women across the room stirred, waking at the loud noises.

Jake, on the ceiling, chuckled. "It's not a bad view up here."

"How did you get up there?" Aerith tilted her head.

"That Merlin pinned me up here with his magic and then you and Cloud decided to tape me up here." He said pointedly to Aerith.

"ME?" Aerith asked, shocked.

Yuffie snorted. "That is awesome, Aerith."

"That is NOT awesome. Get a ladder so we can get him down." Aerith said.

Yuffie pursed her lips pensively. "I dunno. I think we should let him hang out for a while."

"Ha ha frickity ha." Jake remarked. "Seriously, cut me down."

Yuffie shrugged, "A'right."

She reached behind the fridge and pulled out the Gunblade, swinging it up and slicing through the duct tape at his sides. With a tearing noise and a yelp, Jake flopped from the ceiling to the floor.

"The Hell's all this noise about?" Cid grumbled, sitting up from under the woman pile.

"Yuffie, how did you know that was there?" Aerith pointed at the Gunblade and the fridge.

"Duh, because I hid it there." Yuffie replied.

Tifa walked back into the kitchen. "Guys, I can't find Leon."

Cid got to his feet, "Passed out on the bathroom floor?"

Aerith shook her head, "I just came from there."

"Duct taped to any ceilings?" Cid suggested.

"No." Yuffie snickered.

Tifa glanced sideways at the fridge, read the magnetic alphabet message, and popped open the freezer, digging through the ice box before producing a block of ice with a silver key inside.

"Ah ha." She said, picking up the ice pick and attacking the block in the sink to get to the key.

The group heard the front door of the house open and they all exchanged looks. While Tifa continued to bust through the ice block and Cid disentangled himself from the half conscious women, Aerith and Yuffie stepped out into the living room. Merlin was just re-entering the house, wearing an 'I'm with stupid' t-shirt over his robes.

"Merlin!" Yuffie maneuvered around the cups, board games, and other passed-out partiers to reach the old sorcerer. "Where have you been? Have you seen Squall?"

"I went out to escape this alcoholic smog that you all brought into my house." Merlin tutted disapprovingly.

"Hey, Tifa brought into the house." Yuffie corrected.

Aerith sighed, "We can't find Leon."

Merlin blinked, "Last I saw, he was in the study."

Aerith immediately walked toward the door to the study room and opened it. Sure enough, there, sitting in another canoe, was Leon, legs crossed and puffing on a tobacco pipe. There was a cowboy hat on his head and he was wearing a monocle.

"Leon?" She asked gently.

He looked at her from under the brim of his hat and then straightened, a creepy smile sneaking across his lips. "Goooood morning." He chirped.

Aerith put her hands on her hips. "What are you doing in here?"

He snorted. "Being awesome. Why are you wearing Tifa's clothes?" He snorted again. "Heh, that's a funny word…clothes…"

Tifa popped into the doorway, "Oh, you found him. Good."

Leon tipped his hat to her and made a finger-gun with his left hand, pointing it at the ceiling and muttering: "Pew, pew, pew."

"What's wrong with him?" Tifa giggled.

Aerith sighed, "I think he's still drunk."

"You're still drunk." Leon snapped back and abruptly climbed out of the canoe, stumbling and nearly wiping out on the desk.

He ended up just knocking a few metal trinkets from the desk to the floor. The noise made both women cringe. Tifa touched her head.

"Lucky bastard." She frowned, "And where did THIS canoe come from?"

"Hey!" Leon lifted his hands up in the air, like a human field goal. "Tifa's here!"

Aerith groaned, holding her head. "No more yelling." She looked to Tifa. "Is everybody accounted for?"

"Yeah…Jake went home, and Cid is making sure all of those women he woke up with were of age…" Tifa shuddered.

They left the study, making sure Leon didn't trip on himself as they did so. Returning to the living room, they found Merlin mixing a batch of strong coffee and Cid closing the door after the last of hungover party-goers.

"Whew." Cid smirked at the rest of them. "Helluva night."

"Is that a hickey on your neck?" Yuffie pointed, looking disgusted.

Merlin handed Cid and Tifa the first cups of coffee, pouring more for the others. Aerith took one and sank back into the couch, nudging the clutter from the coffee table to the floor so she could prop her feet up on it.

"Let's never have a party ever again." She moaned.

"Party." Leon gave a weak little whoop, flopping into the seat next to her.

Tifa snorted and took the cowboy hat from his head, setting it on her own with a snort. Yuffie chuckled and took her own cup of the steamy, sobering liquid. Aerith patted Leon's knee.

"Go to sleep, honey." She urged.

Leon made a low giggle in his throat. "M'kay." And he promptly swung his legs up onto the couch and laid down in her lap.

"Oh…okay." Aerith looked to Tifa for help.

Tifa just tipped her hat to her and sat in the recliner, working on her coffee. Yuffie had plopped down on the floor next to the recliner, while Cid sat at the table and Merlin worked on another batch of coffee. The living room fell quiet as they all sat stewing in their hangovers and sensitive ears, being slowly resurrected by the coffee.

Aerith made herself comfortable, which wasn't hard, considering that Merlin's couch was like a deep sleeping bag and Leon was like a hot water bottle with a pulse. Merlin magicked the litter in the living room so that it began to march itself into the trash can. Tifa watched the procession with amusement and Yuffie lifted her feet so that a trapped napkin wad could roll past her in the little garbage conga line to the trash can.

Cid lit a cigarette to accompany his coffee and exhaled smoke, ignoring Merlin's disapproving look. Aerith normally disapproved of his smoking indoors too, but since she couldn't remember what he had gotten into last night, she let him be. She could barely remember what SHE had gotten into last night. Or why she and Tifa had switched clothes.

Stupid Tifa with her stupid flaming dragon drinks…

"ISN'T SOMEBODY GOING TO COME UP HERE AND LET ME GO?" Cloud yelled from upstairs.


A/N: The title of 001 comes from Stu's song in The Hangover movie. It seemed fitting.

Constructive feedback is always welcome and appreciated!

This collection will run mostly on requests and prompts, so if there is anything that you want to read, feel free to submit it in a review!