[Main Pairing] LeaYuffie in later chapter

[Side Pairings] ZackAerith ; CloudTifa

[Warnings] There is nothing too graphic about this fanfiction, however, there is an AU element to it. There may also be spoilers for 3D in a later chapter.

[..Book I..]
[..Child's Play..]

[..1..]

The couple raced down the street in pure panic. They had lost the young girl that they were to babysit for the young woman's neighbour. They'd only stopped for a moment to look at something in a shop and when the young man went to ask the youngster if she wanted anything, she was gone. They produced to search for nearly an hour, which is why the panic had set in the most, but then they caught sight of a young girl.

"Yuffie," the brunette shouted, running over to the youngster and leaving her boyfriend behind in the crowd. The first thing she noticed was that the girl was finishing a sea salt ice cream. She blinked up with wide brown eyes, staring at the older female. "Oh gosh! I thought that — oh.. hello." It was in the middle of her speech that the woman noticed something. There, on either side of the child, was two teenage boys; one with wild red hair while the other had azure.

"Hi," the more talkative teenager piped up, grinning like an idiot. "Found something that belongs to you?"

"Lea," the other boy groaned, rolling his eyes.

"Uh, I'm sorry if she bothered you two," the woman added dumbly, feeling a bit uncertain of what to do. She knew of the pair and had realised that they weren't troublesome. Well, Lea could be but it was all in good fun, so she no longer felt like having a heart attack.

"Don't worry about it," Lea replied while bumping into the girl to his left playfully. She lifted her head and stuck her tongue out, earning a chuckle from the teen. "Musta saw us buying lunch and wanted to join. I figured there was no harm in letting her."

"It was his idea to fill her full of sugary products," the more mature teen added, earning him a pout from his friend.

"Do I owe you anything," Aerith asked politely, somewhat amused by the two boys. She'd known the two often bickered, especially when Lea did something that Isa deemed questionable, but that didn't stop her from feeling entertained. Especially with the way that the little girl looked up at the teen with that wide smile and innocent gaze.

"Naw, we're cool," he said with a bright smile, turning his head and staring down at the little girl that seemed to be attached to his hip. His expression twisted into probably the most serious that he could manage without looking ridiculous and the child perked up, as if expecting a lecture. "As long as little Yuffie promises that she's not gonna run off without telling again."

"I promise," she eagerly replied, chewing on the wooden stick from her treat.

"Hey, there you guys are," Zack's cheerful voice called out, surprising most.

"Lea," Isa spoke as he stood from his spot. "Let's go. I want to catch a flick before curfew."

"Right," the other teen said before bouncing to his feet, followed by the youngster. "See ya la — "

"Can I come?"

Both boys looked somewhat surprised by the question, before Lea flashed another smile, "Not this time. Maybe next time, Yuff."

"Promise," she asked, looking a bit disappointed. The pair of teens looked at each other, then at Aerith who shrugged slightly.

"We'll have to ask your folks but I don't see a problem with it," Lea answered. "What about you, Isa?"

Isa appeared entertained, even the corner of his lips twitching up. "We'll see."

"Good," the red head nodded and turned sharply, bending down to the child. "But you gotta be good for your folks and Aerith here."

"What about me," the dark haired male whined, feeling all around left out.

Chuckling, he added, "And Zack."

"I promise to," she beamed, springing to her feet. Innocently, she rocked on her heels with her hands in her pockets. Zack was instantly suspicious, but said nothing. "See ya later!" and just like that, Yuffie had taken off through the crowd again. Aerith quickly thanked both boys before sprinting after the little girl, while Zack snickered and bid the pair of stunned teens a farewell and joining his girlfriend on the chase.

[..2..]

An angry Aerith dragged a kicking and twisting Yuffie down the pavement, completely oblivious to the stares that the pair was currently receiving. The young girl begged and pleaded with the older female, asking her not to do what she was going to, but her words fell to raging deaf ears. There was no denying that she let her parents down, along with Aerith and Zack whom were not on speaking terms with her at the moment, but this was just over doing it in the youngster's eyes.

They stopped in front of a wooden door and the pink clad female knocked twice, then crossed her arms. The youngest could feel a furious glare sent her way as they waited impatiently for the door to open. It took nearly five minutes, too long in Yuffie's opinion, for the doors to open and reveal a confused Lea.

"Um, hey," he said lamely, sounding as if he'd been woken up. This didn't matter to the lady in pink as she shoved an object at him, with that enraged scowl. He jumped slightly but still took the item, looking it over before his eyes lit up. "Oh, hey! It's my wallet. Where'd you find it?"

"I found it," Yuffie piped up, beaming as if she were a hero. This earned her a glare from Aerith and a look that said if she didn't tell the truth, the older girl was going to kill her. In the ninja's young mind, it was possible and she would do it, so she added quietly, "In your pocket..."

"So you stole it," he murmured, looking over the wallet.

Yuffie nodded, "yeah."

"And," Aerith supplied to the girl.

"And I'm real sorry."

"It's cool," he shrugged before pocketing the item. "Say, how'd you do that?"

"What," both girls said simultaneously.

"I mean, how'd you take the wallet without me knowing," he answered with a cheeky grin. "I wanna try it on Isa."

With Aerith dumbfounded, Yuffie slipped out of the teenager's grasp and piped up, "If you let me in, I'll teach you all there is to know about stealing!"

"Yuffie," Aerith said between a gasp and laugh.

"Sure thing," he grinned and motioned for both of them to enter.

[..3..]

A group of young girls in front of a shop gossiped and giggled as the party of three marched down the walkway. Over the past year, the trio had become a welcomed sight as the youngest child seemed to keep the problematic boy out of trouble. This also meant that his normal babysitter could spend more time with her boyfriend, Zack, and kept him out of trouble as well. This all brought peace to the gardens.

"What should we do today," the red head inquired, causing the other two to stop goofing off a bit. "I don't wanna just walk around. We should do something!"

"We could go see a flick," Isa suggested.

"No way," he pulled a face, "last time was boring!"

"Fine."

"Maybe we should break into the castle," the girl proposed with mischief in her wide eyes. "I wanna see if they have suits of armour like in the fairytales!"

"Uh, yeah, that's not a good — "

"Let's do it," Lea agreed before Isa could finish his sentence. "I always wondered what went on in there!"

"Awesome!"

"Guys," Isa groaned, shaking his head. "Need I remind you that there's guards."

"So? I'm a ninja," the girl declared, even striking a pose. "No guard is gonna catch me!"

The blue haired boy rolled his eyes, "Right."

"I am!"

"You know, Isa's got a point about the guards," Lea spoke up, tapping his chin. "And since we're not ninjas like Yuffie over here — " Isa snorted but the other boy continued, " — we're gonna have to make a plan. How about some ice cream and we set to work?"

"Perfect," she beamed up at the red head. "You're buyin' right?"

"Of course," he flashed a smile.

"Let's go then!" And they did.

[..4..]

Kicking a pebble across the ground, Lea waited in the normal waiting spot for the only friend that would be coming today. Isa had been ill and wasn't showing up, but that didn't mean that the now-eleven-year-old wouldn't. As he awaited her arrival, he amused himself with various things, such as ruffling his hair and drawing in the dust with the tip of his show. He wasn't sure how long he waited, but he'd managed to kick five pebbles to the entrance of the alleyway and redo his doodle twenty-six times before a pair of boots entered his sight.

"Hey," he greeted as he glanced up at the young girl. He watched as she waved then glanced around, looking for their other friend but coming up empty handed. He answered the question before it could be asked, "He's sick."

"Oh, cool," she piped up and placed her hands on her hips, almost looking older than she was. "That means I can finally ask you something without him knowing!"

He arched a brow, "What's that?"

"I wanna know if you can help me with something!"

"What's that," he questioned curiously.

"Well, my dad wants me to start learning how to defend myself but this loser, I think his name is Tseng, is the one who was supposed to teach me. I don't want him to," she answered, beaming. "I know how you and Isa spar sometimes, so you think you could teach me a few things?"

"I'unno," he said cautiously. "Why can't this guy your dad hired do it? Or what about that other guy, uh, Squall or somethin'?"

"Because, Lea, they're losers," she replied, using a matter-of-fact tone. "Besides, I like you better!"

He laughed, "All right, all right. When do you want to start?"

"How about now," she asked, pulled out a training tool. It only took a moment for realisation to hit Lea, and probably the real reason why she preferred him over the other two.

"Long distance? Cool, cool," he flashed a grin before pulling out his own 'weapons'. He tapped one of his against hers, then marched towards the exit of the alley. "Come on then. I'll teach you all I know about this stuff, and you'll be the greatest ninja ever, all thanks to me."

"I was hoping you'd say that," she laughed as she strolled along behind him, ready to learn what he had to teach.

[..5..]

Steel met steel in an array of sparks, the male pushed forward and knocked the young female back a few steps. He took a stride back as she became at him again, with reckless abandonment, and easily blocked the attack. He flashed a smirk when she gave a frustrated pout and casually pushed her again. This time, he used a bit too much force and she stumbled, landing unladylike to her bum.

"Sorry about that," he chuckled with a silly smile. "You okay?"

"I'm fine," she huffed and bounced back to her feet, brushing herself off with a childish pout. "I hate how much bigger and stronger you are than me!"

"Has nothing to do with size," he replied, rolling his shoulders. "You can be the biggest guy on the field, but if you don't got skill and brains then you're not gonna win. You got skill, but you need to focus."

"My dad says the same thing," she whined.

Lea chuckled, "Well, he's a pretty smart guy."

"I guess," she replied, sounding sulky. "I'm never gonna be like him though."

"You don't gotta be," the boy replied, placing his homemade weapons away. He gave her an encouraging smile and tilted his head, "With a little more time, you're gonna be better."

"You think," she asked hopefully.

He nodded, "Yup. How about we go get some ice cream and see what Isa's up. We'll continue this tomorrow."

"Sounds like a plan," she said cheerfully, putting her training tool away and turning. "Race ya!"

"You're so on!"

[..6..]

Slicing through a set of creatures, Lea panted heavily and whipped his head around. He searched through the crowd, who were running wildly and screaming, for even a glimpse of his two friends. He couldn't locate them but didn't have time to dwell on it as more of the strange beasts appeared. They lashed out with pointed claws but he made quick work of them, but was growing exhausted just as quickly.

"Lea!"

"Yuffie," he whispered and lifted his head, noticing the young girl pushing her way through the crowd and headed towards him. His heart sank a bit, watching her run at him with tears in her eyes and dirt on her cheeks. "What are you doing here?" He didn't receive an answer, the young teen threw herself on him and hugged him tightly. He tensed as he felt her tears wetting his shirt. "Yuffie?"

"I was so scared that something happened to you," she wailed, tightening her grip. "I couldn't even find Isa!"

"I know, I... listen! You need to find a place to hide," he replied, panic in his voice. "I need to keep looking for Isa."

"I'm not going without you," she declared with a small hiccup.

"I need to find him," he replied, pushing her away a bit. "I also need you to go some place safe."

"No! Not without you."

Sighing, he combed his fingers through his hair, "Fine. But... uh, you need to be ahead of me. I gotta look for Isa while we're running. Okay?"

"Yeah," she nodded eagerly and released him completely. She turned but stopped midway, glancing over at him. "You'll be right behind me, right?"

"Yup."

"Promise?"

"I promise," he lied.

"Okay." She believed him and took off down the walkway, running as fast as she could. He didn't follow. He just turned and began in a different direction, determined to find his other friend as well and knowing that she would be safe — Aerith and company would find her soon.

He didn't get far before he was overwhelmed, Isa followed shortly after.

[..to be continued..]

[..Author's Note..]

Well, this is the first part of this three-part fic. The next chapter/book will be while Kingdom Hearts two is taking place, and won't have much of this pairing in it. I already have it almost completed so expect it soon. It also will not be as long as this one is either, but still kind of important to the idea of this piece.

I really don't expect much of a response to this plot bunny that wouldn't stop biting. I figure I'll get a few reviews and maybe some flames. I'm cool with that. Just hope someone enjoyed themselves besides me.