Chapter 46 - The Other Team

A/N: What's this? A disclaimer?! Nay! ANOTHER disclaimer. Yes. FFVII: Advent Children does not belong to Aeru. Sadly. We could be very rich.

However, being somewhat of a cosplay enthusiasts... had to add some in here! Yay!

XxXxXxX

Once again, Emily had been forced into asking the question: "What can't Lilly do?" because as she sat at the table, wearing a very impressive cosplay costume and eating a gourmet breakfast, she looked up at the woman and wondered exactly how she did all of it.

Apparently, amongst her job, study, more study, cooking practically every night, classes, chores, her secret girlfriend and well, sleep... Lilly had managed to construct three absolutely incredible cosplay costumes for her and her roommates. That day she'd risen at five am, and announced to the apartment at large that they were all going to an Anime Convention.

Takashi and Emily had known nothing of this, and were subsequently quite surprised as Lilly announced it to each of them in turn. And the once they saw what she was wearing herself and the costumes waiting for them, they were dumbfounded.

The three costumes looked like they'd taken years to make. Not to mention lots and lots of cash, which medical students don't usually have a lot of. Emily also noted that Lilly's renditions of Cloud for herself, Sephiroth for Takashi and Vincent for Emily from Advent Children were as close to perfect as things got.

With a wide grin, the crazed blonde started on Takashi, stripping off his blankets and cheerfully shoving him into the masses of black leather and armour that embodied Sephiroth. She also held one gigantic black wing in her fangirlish talons, but as Takashi couldn't fit through the door wearing it, she cheerfully told him they would attach it when they got outside. It became certain that Lilly had lost her mind when she procured a perfect replica of masamune in appearance AND length from her room and thrust it at him.

Then, Takashi's green contact lenses in and black hair hidden by a silky silver wig with gigantic bangs, Lilly picked up her buster sword, put on her sunglasses and ventured to Emily's room leaving Sephiroth-Takashi very shocked and mildly turned-on in her wake.

Emily was barely awake as she was stuffed into the costume of the emo vampire (but not without some very painful binding), and soon enough a brassy clawed glove, a pair of contacts of her own, a black wig and some description of pistol were forced upon her, shocking her into quite fitting emo silence.

And then, the insane Cloud-Lilly shepherded her two bewildered roommates into the kitchen where she'd also had the time, energy and initiative to cook bacon, eggs, sausages, toast, coffee, orange juice and all sorts of other goodies. She told them happily that she would kill them if either of them got any food of the costumes, and then started digging in.

Finally, Emily finished a piece of toast with the utmost care and looked at Lilly, getting the courage to talk. Sure, life had been crazy around here since the thunderstorm and even before that.

Damn... even thinking about it was enough to make her blush and well, want to kill things. It had been about a week since and Takashi hadn't said a word and kept giving her these completely startled looks every time she was even close to him. And when she accidentally brushed past him one morning, he appeared to jump out of his skin completely.

Her mantra became stronger with every passing day. On the bright side of everything, his longing looks at Lilly were far less than they were before the incident, but his longing looks at her were non-existent... which didn't really make it a bright side. It was like Takashi was trying to deny it ever happened.

And God he looked good as Sephiroth.

She was partly wrong though. Whenever Takashi knew Emily wasn't looking, he would gaze at her and his thought process would be something like.

Oh dear GOD. Did that HAPPEN? Did I let THAT happen?! With Emily... OH GOD.

He was trying to deny it had happened, but he certainly wasn't succeeding... and he certainly couldn't get her out of his head. It was like there was an inner-tug-of-war between Lilly and Emily in his mind.

And it was killing him.

"Lilly..." Emily ventured. "So... how did you manage this? Like, all of this. How is it even possible?"

Lilly smiled, daintily taking a strip of crispy bacon between her teeth. "Well. I got the wigs commissioned, and my uncle made the weapons... and of course the contacts are store-bought. But I made all the costumes myself. It wasn't too bad. The hardest part was getting your measurements in your sleep."

Takashi and Emily exchanged a look. A look of terror.

"So then..." Takashi appeared far too frightened to actually eat anything, although his stomach was growling. "How did you afford it?"

"What's a few hundred dollars extra when you have a student debt like mine?" Lilly looked at her two roommates confusedly. "Why aren't you two eating? You have to hurry up, the cab comes soon."

"Not hungry," Takashi and Emily said in unison. Even though they were hungry, Lilly had been quite serious when she said that she would kill them for soiling their costumes, and both knew it. Lilly could be quite scary when she wanted to.

She was scary enough anyway.

"Okay. Shall we go then?" Lilly was positively beaming.

"I don't think we're all going to fit in a cab, you know," Takashi pointed out, getting ready to back away from the table where all the food seemed to be threatening to jump on him.

"Don't worry! I asked for an extra big one!" Conveniently, the doorbell chimed at that very moment. "And here it is! So show time! Gather props, cameras, money... and let's go!"

Sephiroth-Takashi and Vincent-Emily exchanged yet another look.

It was going to be a long convention.

XxXxXxX

Gabe maintained to himself that it was only because he loved Akii so much that he was consenting to come see her right now. Almost midnight and she called him, distraught, so distraught in fact, Gabe had no idea what on earth she was on about. He could discern that she wanted him to come see her though, and so here he was, on the Subarus' doorstep, waiting to be let in.

Today had been one of the worst days of his life, and he didn't want to be here. He wanted to be curled up in his room full of band posters, under his duvet, trying to pretend the world didn't exist.

But now the door was open and Micheal Subaru was looking sternly at Gabe with eyes that still hadn't quite accepted the boy his baby girl was seeing and a pair of very unattractive pinstriped pajamas.

"You're here late," he stated.

"Akii called me, she seemed upset."

"Yes... she's had a bit of an emergency."

"Really?"

"Come in," Micheal held the door open for Gabe and Gabe thanked him, walking down that familiar hallway, dark at this time of night and smelling distinctly clean, probably after one of Naomi Subaru's famous onslaughts. He traced the steps to Akii's room and found a sign on her door in her thin writing, saying "DO NOT COME IN, MOURNING IN PROCESS".

Gabe's patience was running thin, and he rolled his eyes as he knocked sharply.

He heard a wail within, and alarmed, he tried the door, finding it locked.

"Akii?"

"Gabe!"

"What's wrong?"

"Oh... you can't come in... the corpse isn't fit to be seen! I haven't given it the rites yet!"

"Corpse?" Whatever was happening, Gabe could tell it wasn't something good. "What's going on Akii, let me in!"

"You can't come in!" The wailing voice insisted.

"You told me to come over... now let me in and tell me what's wrong."

"Harold died," a voice said darkly beside Gabe, making him jump. There was Magic, in her pajamas, drinking a cup of hot chocolate. She seemed to have come from nowhere.

"Where did you come from?!" Gabe demanded.

"I was supposed to be staying tonight. But then Harold finally gave up his fight and died."

"Harold?" The name rang a bell... but Gabe wasn't sure which one of Akii's soft toys she had named Harold. Indeed, Akii named everything. It may not even be a soft toy.

Magic gave him a searching look and sipped her hot chocolate. "You're in big trouble if you don't know who Harold is."

"... One of the turtles?" Gabe tried helplessly, feeling terrible about himself.

Raising an eyebrow now, Magic nodded. "Bingo."

"Ah." Akii loved those turtles like they were humans... this didn't look good at all. "How long have you been out here?"

"Oh, a few hours," she replied mildly, but Gabe knew how pissed off Magic was, only holding it in because her friend was mourning for a much loved pet who she'd had since she could talk. Even Magic could exercise tact sometimes.

A wail louder than the other's floated through the door, and Gabe knocked harder.

"A few hours?!" Gabe was shocked. "Why don't you just leave?"

Magic grimaced... "I can't, my bag and keys are in there."

Gabe sighed. He really didn't have the time, patience or energy for a shenanigan like this right now. No, not at all. His day had consisted of first having his little sister Elise "become a woman"... and then, to torture him more after the most torturous visit to the supermarket he'd ever had, his other sister Emi, became the second woman in the house.

Gabe could've cried, all the time thinking: isn't this a mother's job?!

All this was exactly why he wanted to be at home, curled up in bed, pretending he was a normal teenager with a normal family and didn't have all the responsibility that was slowly breaking him down.

"Akii, for God's sake, open this door!" he found himself yelling angrily, earning himself a peculiar stare from Magic.

"I tried kicking it down. Micheal said I could." Magic pointed to a dent in the door which had made a sizable crack in the hardwood and Gabe reminded himself never to get Magic the kickboxer pissed off enough to give him one of those kicks.

"So what should we do?" Gabe rested his forehead against the door, feeling the world crushing in on him. All problems at once, problems he must suffer through alone.

He DID NOT have time for turtles.

And reminded Akii of this, "AKII, OPEN THIS DOOR."

From inside, Akii looked up from the little body wrapped in her most special sky-blue bandana. She'd been hearing Magic and Gabe's voices for a while... but she'd never heard Gabe's voice quite like that. He sounded... furious. Why? Why was he so angry?

Akii shakily got up, wiping the tears off her face and slid back the dead bolt to open the door just a little, showing her mussed-up hair, red eyes and blue pajamas.

Right now she looked positively... normal.

"Gabe..."

And Gabe, looked furious.

"Why did you bring me around for a stupid turtle?! Don't you know I have my own life and my own problems? You bring me around and then you don't even let me in."

Both Magic and Akii stared at him.

"Gabe..." Magic warned. "Akii's upset, why are-"

Gabe broke off her speech with a growl and turned on his heel, walking away from the two girls and trying not to focus on the monster that had reared up inside of him that had caused him to yell like that at his girlfriend who only needed a hug.

And as the front door slammed, Akii and Magic were stunned. Akii's eyes filled with tears again and Magic gently hugged her, her voice soft.

"Akii, let me in, we can talk."

Giving a tiny nod of assent, Akii held the door open for Magic and the two girls commiserated long hours into the night and morning, about anything and everything. Both just as shocked as Gabe over what he had done.

Akii then confessed what had happened after the band contest and Magic didn't know whether to laugh, cry or run after Gabe and hit him over the head with some very large and heavy.

XxXxXxX

So far the convention had just been Lilly and Emily running around squeeing over the numerous products and other costumes and loading Takashi up with hundreds of their purchases. Emily making full use of the credit card from her daddy (who was as crazy as crazy gets) and Lilly presumably going into even more debt than she was already in. They'd also attracted a stream of followers, who were oggling the wonderful costumes and whispering to each other about how sexy the three Final Fantasy "hunks" were. Honestly, Takashi had posed for about a hundred photos and he'd almost lost his eyesight from all the camera flashes. Lilly and Emily were good at this, he was not.

But he guessed Lilly really was the reason why he was ignoring the stream of fangirls... and the glomping... and the photos... and letting them use him as a packhorse. Lilly- who apparently enjoyed crossdressing and posing for photos.

And yaoi.

He wasn't sure if he knew exactly what yaoi was... but he knew both his roommates loved it, and it was not something entirely... safe. He'd earlier heard the words "yaoi photographs of Sephiroth and Cloud" and excused himself to the bathroom. Of course, he couldn't actually remove the costume, so any notions he had of actually using the bathroom were shattered and he eventually had to show his face again.

He wasn't sure who were scarier. Emily and Lilly or the rest of the convention goers.

He noticed Emily smiling a lot more though, and actually talking excitedly without reserve to him. He couldn't see much of her face, but she was much more relaxed here. He wasn't though. But maybe that was worth it too.

When the time came for contest judging, Lilly herded Takashi and Emily backstage and gave them a strict pep talk on what they needed to do. EXACTLY what they needed to do, and look like. The lecture seemed to take a long time, and involved a lot of waving of her buster sword which made Takashi very nervous.

Not as nervous as the fact that he was about to go on stage in front of a lot of fangirls though. A lot of fangirls like Emily and Lilly. Scary... yaoi-obsessed fangirls who would love nothing better to leap on "Sephi--!" and maul him.

And before he knew it, he was living the reality, posing with masamune the way Lilly had told him to, and giving a snide little grin.

There were screams, flashes, claps and cheers and an announcers voice saying something he barely even heard. All he knew was this was absolutely terrifying.

But terrifying though it was, he had no idea it would be so fun.

XxXxXxX

The convention was over, many awards in hand and grins on Emily and Lilly's faces as they bundled again into the big taxi, ready to make their way home for rest... and sanity, hopefully.

Lilly decided, about halfway through the taxi ride though, that now would be the perfect time to talk Emily up again. Emily was grateful, but she seemed to be going a little overboard this time and it was making her blush.

Pale emo Vincent did not suit blush on his cheeks.

"...Doesn't Em look so pretty and feminine, even as Vincent! I mean, the fact that she's Vincent is hot enough... but she's so pretty. Don't you think? Huh, huh?"

"I guess so..." Takashi once again looked like he wanted to run away.

"What do you mean you guess so... she's pretty, she's rich as hell, she has fantastic tits-"

"Lilly!" Emily cried, scandalised.

"...Shut up, you do."

Emily shifted further into her corner of the taxi and brooded.

"Lilly... can I ask you why you keep throwing me at Emily?" Takashi cut in, blushing at that remark. He'd noticed his roommates have nice... chest-regions of course, he's a guy! And they walked down the hall in only towels all the time, oblivious to how uncomfortable it made him. Well, maybe not oblivious... but unsympathetic. But still.

"I mean..." Takashi continued, he was on a roll. He felt like today might even be the day that he worked up the courage to confess to Lilly, even if Emily- the girl he'd snogged and messed around with not long ago, was present for it. "I like you both," he stated. "But Lilly... it's been you for so lo-"

Lilly clapped a hand over Takashi's mouth. "Takashi. Listen to me! This may not be the best time but..." Lilly removed her glasses and ceased to be Cloud, her warm eyes serious and her voice calm. "Forget about me okay?"

"You have a boyfriend, don't you?"

Emily looked from one to the other in the back of the cab... wondering if she should laugh, cringe... or leap out of the moving vehicle and hope for the best. She kind of wished that the fancy prop gun was real right about about now. Then, maybe if she fired off a few shots... she could make people think that she was a Vincent-terrorist and this conversation wouldn't have to happen... and she wouldn't have to be here for it.

"I have a girlfriend," Lilly stated. Blunt as blunt.

Emily choked.

Takashi looked like he'd been hit in the face with a shovel.

"A... what now?"

"I'm sorry I didn't tell you when we first met, but I thought it didn't matter because I wouldn't bring any women back to the apartment. I bat for the other team, Takashi. I am a fully-fledged, proud, lesbian. You know how I go out every Wednesday to "yoga". Yeah? Well, I actually go to the gay and lesbian community get-togethers. I am very gay and the only reason I'm sorry is I didn't tell you earlier... I just didn't want to break your heart." She looked at the expression on Takashi's face and ignored Emily, choking on oxygen. "... Like I did just now."

"A lesbian..." Takashi repeated.

"Yes," Lilly nodded.

"Emily, did you know?"

"Yes," Emily confessed... feeling just about awkward enough to open that car door and commando roll to safety.

"A lesbian..."

"That's right."

"Like... a lesbian..."

Takashi seemed to have fled Earth and left a robotic corpse.

"Yes. A lesbian!" Lilly was beginning to get impatient.

"I see. A lesbian."

"TAKASHI, NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES YOU SAY IT, IT STILL MEANS I LIKE GIRLS."

"... Lesbian..."

Needless to say, the rest of the cab journey was spent with Lilly looking out the left window, Emily pointedly out the right and Takashi into the distance, occasionally mouthing the word lesbian and looking like he'd given up hope on life.

After all, it's not everyday that Cloud tells Sephiroth that he's a lesbian.

XxXxXxX

Dear Diary,

Home after a long day spent as a vampire. At an awesome convention... with awesome people... and awesome everything.
Sometimes, Lilly reminds me of a Labrador. A big, excitable Labrador. A big excitable Labrador who just broke Takashi's heart and happens to like other... female Labradors.

Does this mean Takashi likes bestiality?

Great! Now I've confused myself again. But the con was awesome. I bought so much. Too much. Father will be proud. And walking around all stoic and emo and bishie like Vincent wasn't bad at all. Especially when I did that one yaoi pose with Lilly. Pity Takashi ran scared.

NOTE TO SELF: TELL FATHER NOTHING OF TODAY.

I wonder how Takashi feels right now... I should talk to him. Comfort him. Definite bonding moment! He said he liked us both right?
Then, I'll come back and write those essays and finish my letters and emails and... I know I'm forgetting something. Oh well.

Operation Comfort Takashi (OCT), COMMENCE!

Emily Yamato.