Fandom: FFVII mercverse AU
Summary: Cloud keeps his secrets well. Including his collection of plushie friends that keep him company when the others cannot.
Disclaimers: Hehe. FFVII not mine, the mercverse world even less so. It is so very shiny though. So many plotbunnies blinking cutely at you...
Notes: Inspired by luco_millian's Cloud sketch becauase there are plushies and I love plushies. (Also because when I came home this weekend, my bookmarks from her had arrived and so had my new dollfie plus... ^^; Clearly no one's allowed to outgrow dolls. Or I'm just one weird girl. ^_^
“I think you need a Cloud plushie.”
“But I really think you do!”
“One me is good enough, Zack.”
Zack frowned and placed both his hands on his hips, pouting dramatically—or tried to anyway, “But I can’t pounce on you and hug you and crumple your hair against your head!”
“Well I can. But it just wouldn’t be as effective. Or fun.”
“I am not making a Cloud plushie just so you can bully him to satisfy your sadistic desires whenever you want to.”
Cloud glanced up from his book at last, just in time to catch Zack’s attempt to kick his side with a booted foot.
If this Zack were the real Zack, Cloud had no doubts that being kicked in the side with a steel-toed boot would hurt.
But this Zack wasn’t the real Zack, and though his boots were shod with small gleaming bits of sheet metal, the rest of his foot was pure felt-covered stuffing. And all he did was make a soft clicking sound against Cloud’s belt. He didn’t look happy with the effect that made, or lack thereof. And then he was whacked in the head with a plastic gun.
The plush Vincent glanced up at the hint of an amused smile on Cloud’s face, even in the dimness of the candlelight, shrugging. “No bullets,” he explained before toddling back to his ideal spot beneath Cloud’s elbow and his side, cuddling in against the warmth of Cloud’s body, his little wings flapping quietly against each other as he flopped down and wriggled into a more comfortable position. The little Chaos glanced at him and wondered anew—and out loud—how anything could be comfortable squished in like that.
Cloud was tempted to hug the little demon plushie for a good squishing of his own but refrained, settling on petting his head to preserve some of his precious plushie dignity.
Little Zack didn’t seem overly perturbed by the assault on his own head as he floundered his way amongst the slippery silk sheets and pounced on the Sephiroth plush, who had been thus far quiet and looking thoughtful. Or as thoughtful as an animated plush doll could be. Cloud hadn’t been able to give them much leeway in the facial expressions department—something Zack plushie told him on multiple occasions that he had to soon correct. “Seeeeeppphhh~” little Zack whined, poking the silver-haired plushie with a mitten-hand with no respect for quiet thinking time at all—for all Zack plushie cared, being quiet was just the same as being boring which was no fun.
The little Sephiroth responded with a firm jab to Zack’s middle with his long plastic sword as he closed his eyes in an attempt to ignore him.
The mage plushie had originally requested to be able to toss fireballs at the Zack plushie, but Cloud had shook his head on that one, commenting on how he didn’t really want to have a burned and charred Zack plushie to salvage every time he got taken out. They’d compromised with a really long sword on the condition Sephiroth plushie try not to poke too many holes through him since Cloud preferred not having to constantly re-stuff and sew up the troublemaker either.
“But Seph~ wouldn’t you like a Cloud plushie friend?”
“…” (Sephiroth plushie literally hoisted up a small speech bubble with hastily-scribbled ellipses on a stick that he held up next to his head, as he continued to ignore Zack plushie.)
But the little Zack was not to be discouraged from his apparent quest to Make Sephiroth Plushie Talk. “Whatcha thinking about?”
With a sigh, Sephiroth opened his eyes and managed to look up at Cloud with such a look of long-suffering weariness that Cloud had the distinct impression the facial expressions issue had been magically resolved all by itself.
“I was thinking about why Cloud would want to make plush versions of ourselves to keep with him when he’s already surrounded by the real ones.”
The little Zack was quiet for a moment as he digested this before turning around and flopping down on the silk sheets against Sephiroth plushie and looking long and unblinkingly at Cloud. “But that's easily answered… why, Cloud?"
The blonde smiled, running a hand along the Sephiroth plushie's hair which bore it with dignity and without too much hand-flopping limb-flailing that Zack always went into paroxyms of whenever Cloud did the same to him. “They won’t stay with me forever,” he told them quietly. “I can’t bind them to life for all eternity with me as I can lay the wards to keep you from destruction and the ravages of time. And I would miss them more if I couldn’t have you around with me all the time. I embued you with my favorite memories of them—they’re the easiest to forget over time, and the ones I want least forgotten.”
“Is that why you won’t let the real me see me?” the little Chaos piped up, leaning against Cloud’s chest to stare up at him, “Because if we do, we might learn their bad habits?”
“…No,” Cloud admitted ruefully, running a hand through his hair, for a moment looking a lot younger than even his fake twenty-year-old appearance. “It’s because they’d laugh at me.”
Oh how Zack really would laugh…
Little Zack snorted in much the same tones the real Zack would. “Silly real people,” he said, snuggling in closer to Seph who finally sighed, gave in, and wrapped a plushie arm around him, “who’d laugh at a man for playing with us?”
Cloud really did smile at that, picking up the Zack plushie—and his Sephiroth attachment—to squish against his cheek in a brief half-hug (the former hugged as much of Cloud's cheek as his little plushie arms would allow and the latter patted Cloud's hand in what was clearly an affectionate manner) before replacing them in their former place against a pillow so that he could return to squinting at his book in the dim light.
It was much later when he looked up again—the candle was burning down low and starting to flicker dangerously, and Vincent plushie had already wriggled out from his spot beside Cloud and flopped down beside the Chaos plushie to snuggle. The Chaos plushie had quietly dragged a fold of silk sheet and blanket to cover the two of them and Zack plushie seemed to have fallen asleep with his head in Sephiroth plushie’s lap—a maneuver that had Sephiroth plushie silently stroking Zack plushie’s felt spikes of hair after long moments of attempting to frown.
He glanced up reprovingly at Cloud who thought somewhat ruefully that when he was silently told off by Sephiroth—and a Sephiroth plushie at that—for reading too late, it was a sign for a good long nap. He blew out the candle then, setting it safely aside on the bedside table so no unsuspecting plushie would accidentally roll into it or fall on it if he left it on the floor and they fell off the bed, before curling around his four miniature pack members and thought sleepily that perhaps a little Cloud plushie to keep them company wouldn’t be so bad…
Chaos was the first to return to the otherwise empty housing building; furling his wings up close against his back, he breathed the scent of contentment from behind Cloud’s door and his fangs glittered momentarily in the darkness as he smiled before he slipped back into human form and took to his own room. Cloud clearly hadn’t felt as lonesome as Chaos had feared he’d be… that was a good thing. The thing about immortals, he knew, was that they were deathly prone to loneliness when there was no one else to remind them of their existence but themselves, when there was no one to separate life and death and when there was no one to help mark the passage of time.
The half-demon briefly wondered how Cloud seemed to cope so very well with this well-known fact of immortal life as he slipped into sleep and the building was silent again, waiting for the others to return. It had been a long three-day mission.
This turned out a lot longer than I thought it would. ^^; Funny, I expected something comment-sized especially since I was tired and it’s now approaching 5 in the morning. But no… the plushies were just too cute. I hope Luco doesn’t mind that I animated them as this is for her anyway. ^_^;