I do not own Star Ocean. It belongs to Square Enix and TriAce. This story involves injury, awkward moment, yaoi (gay sex, or implications thereof), hate, social problems, and family issues. If any of these don't suit your taste, please back out now. These warnings only exist at the begining but are effective throughout the story. Special Thanks to my hubby, who actually suggested writing this, despite not being a yaoi fan himself. Loves to you :)

Love on a Limb

Chapter 1

Fayt was a decent fighter, and Albel the Wicked would be the last one to admit it in public. Heck, he'd be the last one to admit it to anyone, living or dead.

And yet, here he was, sitting in the graveyard just outside of some Aquarian town, muttering about the latest set of bruises he was suffering from a practice match with Fayt Leingod. He wasn't doing it out of spite, really, so much as it was out of boredom waiting for the third member of their traveling group to get his lazy blonde ass out there so they could get moving.

"They aren't going to answer you, you know?" Cliff said as he walked into view.

"Shut it, maggot." Albel snorted as he stood and grabbed his sword. He glanced around, noticing a slight change in the weather. The air was getting a bit colder, and his metal collar was letting him know it.

As they started their walk towards Kirlsa, Albel noted that Fayt was making practice swings and attacks on his way. A unique way to train, but this trip was specifically because he fought the way he did. A swing of the sword, followed by a turn, back-first, towards the enemy with the back of his right leg. An armored right leg, but the last mock-fight with Albel had damaged the armor, and thus demanded that they head to Kirlsa to get a replacement part. Albel shrugged after a while and walked ahead of Fayt a little, ducking just out of reach with every kick, as though he were taunting Fayt to actually try to hit him. Fayt understood this to be some kind of training, and was rather into it when Cliff suddenly shouted.

They were surrounded. Albel growled. How had he been so careless. And with their 'great leader' unable to attack like he often did, it would be up to him and the buffoon to take out most of the bandits. Fayt tried to attack, but without the ability to use his leg as an attack, he knew he was pretty much useless. He swung, tried to parry, and mostly managed to block the knives that the bandits were using. As he turned from deflecting another blow, he spotted a bandit closing in behind one of his friends. Without thinking, he swung and kicked out towards the enemy, the back of his leg coming strait for the bandit's head.

And his sword.

Fayt saw the blade too late as it slipped between the broken plates of armor on the back of his ankle and cut deep. "Aaaaahhh!" Fayt fell over, his leg unable to support him. Cliff and Albel turned and attacked, cleaving the bandit in two and sending the parts flying.

"Pathetic." said Albel. He glanced at Fayt, who's leg was bleeding profusely. Cliff was already bandaging the wound, and hefted the blunette up onto his back. "You're quite stupid, you know." Albel scolded in his arrogant tone. "Only a fool would attack anyone like that with their armor broken. You should know, the worm carrying you does it several times a week. I'm not even sure where he keeps getting his weapons from, it must cost a fortune. But I was sure that you would have enough of a brain to . . . ARE YOU EVEN LISTENING?!"

Fayt only lay limp and heavy over Cliff's back, the bandage on his ankle poorly done at best and bloody as all heck. It was obvious just by looking at him that he was in pain, and unconscious because of it.

"Maggot." Albel muttered.

It was only about an hour later that Fayt woke in a bed at an inn. There was a cloth over his forehead, and a doctor was looking at the wound on his leg. Trying to 'be a man about it', Fayt bit his lip in an attempt not to scream.

The doctor noticed his suddenly rigid body and looked up at him. "This is going to hurt. I need to perform some light surgery on your leg in order for it to heal." Fayt nodded, but the sudden wash of alcohol over the wound in order to clean it made him faint again.

Albel, who happened to be in the room observing this, raised an eyebrow, but said nothing. Could the injury really be so bad that their great leader would be incapacitated like this? His good hand went up and touched his metal gauntlet, memories of his father flooding to him.

Burning. The flames of the dragon as they came rushing towards him in his failure. The touch of his father as he was pushed away from those flames. His arm, as he grabbed at the older man in foolish pride, catching fire. The wails of pain that issued forth from his own lips as he was burned, as Woltar pulled him away from his father. The blackness that threatened to swallow him as his burnt limb was treated. The days spent with a burn-fever, stumbling through the halls. Hearing the nobles talk about him as though he couldn't hear while he stumbled like a fool. Collapsing in someone, crying like an idiot, and welcoming the comforting touch as they held him and merely petted his head. Feeling like a complete idiot when he woke up in a room that was not his own and discovering he'd fallen asleep, and on King Arygliph XIII at that.

The Glyphian snorted again and settled in for a long wait. When the doctor left the room, at long last, Albel settled in on the other bed and began to check his own armor, as he often did. He just preferred not to do it near doctors, since they had a nasty habit of asking about his charbroiled arm. It was while he was checking his armor that Fayt woke again. And Albel figured it was time for him to lay in on the invalid, seeing as how Fayt couldn't get away like he usually did.

"You brainless maggot! You could have lost your leg for a stunt like that! Don't you know better than to use damaged armor in battle? And that attack left you wide open, you fool, it's no wonder you were hurt. What were you thinking?"

"I wasn't." Fayt replied. "The only thing on my mind was protecting you from loosing your head."

Albel blinked. Had he just heard Fayt correctly? The wound was from trying to protect him? Why would Fayt bother to protect him, anyway? Still somewhat shocked at the new knowledge, but not wanting to show it, Albel continued to make his small repairs to his armor. He was going to need to get a new gauntlet soon with the use he was getting out of this one. Softly, he muttered, "Thanks, maggot." and kept working, hoping Fayt had heard him, but also hoping he hadn't. Thanks wasn't something he gave out that often, and he didn't want to look soft. Glancing up, he noticed Fayt was still awake, and had herd him.

Well, good for him.