Well kits, as always, inspiration strikes from strange places.  In truth, I just read such a great Zell x Nida fic.  By Adel, the title is "Penetrate" and can be found at mm.org.  Ah it was so good yet sad.  At the end I was just like "aw! Poor Nida!" and that instantly turned into--I have to write a Nida fic where he gets a happy ending!  And so, add that to this thing I have for odd parings and what have you got?  You've got Nida x Fuujin is what you've got! I like to call it Fuuj-ida! Lol.  Ooo.  This is gonna be soooo fun!

Anyways, since Halloween is just around the corner, I think I'll make this my first holiday fic! Yay!

Disclaimer: Don't own FF8 or any of the characters or places therein, do own…horns.  Devil Horns.  Very nice, classy, devil horns.  As if there was ever any doubt… *maniacal laugh*  Whoa.  I just scared myself.  …

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"Faceless"

by: Banshee Puppet

a Nida/Fuujin one-shot

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Selphie had, once again, come up with a brilliant idea for the holidays.  A masquerade ball.  It was a one-time only opportunity that Fuujin simply couldn't refuse.  The chance to, for one night, be anyone, just another face in the crowd, was far too appealing.  Being part of the Disciplinary Committee, she was feared, but she was feared more for who she was, a member of Seifer's posse, a woman with a bad temper and an attitude in serious need of adjustment.  But even if none of that was true, the patch on her eye was intimidating, and drew attention to itself; she would never be a beautiful girl.  She was to tall and too thin and too small-chested, and her pale skin and white hair made her stick out, and also, look like a ghost.  And the way she spoke, saying only the important things, this also, was a problem.  It wasn't that she couldn't use full sentences, it's just that…when it got right down to it…so much small talk seemed inevitably useless, and before she knew it one-word sum-ups were spilling out of her mouth left and right.  At this point in the game, Fuujin had given up on trying to pretend she would ever be able to blend in, be another face in the crowd.  But for one night she could…for tonight only, she…tonight….

"TONIGHT," she said to the mirror as she pulled on the cranberry-colored wig she'd chosen, carefully brushing out the bangs, the long strands that fell in rivulets well down her back.  It was an expensive wig.  Lovely, really, and she used a pair of scissors to meticulously trim stray strands away.  A masquerade ball, and she'd planned her costume perfectly.  Tonight, she could be just another face in the crowd.  Tonight she could say as many sentences as she wanted, because no one would know it was her.  Tonight, she wouldn't have to do the expected things.  Tonight, she didn't have to be Fuujin.  It was an opportunity she couldn't pass up.

#

'Tonight, everyone will be as faceless as I am,' Nida thought as his fingers ghosted over the ceramic mask he'd chosen.  It was a plain mask when he'd bought it, deciding to decorate it himself, and he was surprised, even now with what he'd done to it, and how beautiful it was now, and also, how dark.  He didn't know there was an ability for something so dark in him.  But there it was, on solid ceramic, painted eloquently, meticulously, steady-fingered, red-lettering, droplets of false blood.  It didn't matter.  No one would ever find out.  Tonight, he could stand out as much as he wanted.  It wasn't as if anyone would know it was him.  It wasn't as if anyone would remember him in the morning.  'But maybe someone will remember this mask, in the morning.  It isn't much, but just for one night, it would be nice, to be as confident as I want, to be noticed.  And as long as I have this mask, I can do that.  Because tonight, everyone will be as faceless as I am.'  It was really…an opportunity he couldn't refuse.

Nida looked at the clock.  Forty-minutes, just enough time to do the rest.  From the back of his closet, he pulled out a bag.  His costume for the evening.  It had cost him a fortune, and he blushed slightly as he pulled out the items he'd chosen.  Combat boots.  Black alligator-skin pants—comfortable, but tight enough to be considered indecent, an equally tight black tank, spiked collar…flowing trench coat that matched the pants almost perfectly.  And the small bottle of gel he'd bought to spike his dark hair with. 

He looked at himself in the mirror when he was all but completely finished, the hair taking almost half a bottle of gel and quite a bit of careful molding.  The collar, stiff, but for what it was worth, a lot less uncomfortable than he thought it ought to be.  He ran his fingers along the small silver spikes before pulling on a pair of fingerless leather gloves.  The entire ensemble was so contrived that it actually looked natural.  A blush ghosted its way across his cheeks.  'It's completely indecent.  But…it makes me feel really good too.' 

And for the final piece of the puzzle, the mask. The right side was pure, porcelain white, with tears of blood dappling the cheek, and speckles here and there, as if splattered, a cut carefully designed along the jaw to chin.  The right side, over the barrier of a perfect gold line down the center of the mask, pure black, with one bleeding red word written there: SIN.

He stared at his visage, his persona, in the mirror, reminding himself, 'tonight, I can be as noticeable as I want to be.'  But what really struck him was the smallest thing, even as he put the gold cross earring through his left ear, still surprised that he'd actually gone through with getting his ear pierced for real, rather than just finding a clip on.  "I never realized," he whispered to the mirror, "that my eyes were so green."

#

She'd chosen something classic and trendy at the same time, and altogether impractical, but for tonight, she was determined to just pretend to be a normal woman.  Besides, somewhere in the back of her mind, she acknowledged, the pastel pink and black barmaid's midriff top, with its silver lacing, suited her, the matching, hip-hugging skirt, with it's front open up to an indecent height revealed the curves she didn't realize she had, the long, sinewy legs bound in knee-high, heeled pleather boots that were so shiny they were almost erotic, the silver bar through her navel gave her some sex appeal, though she still couldn't believe she'd actually gotten her navel pierced; there really wasn't any reason to do something so…impulsive.  She looked stunning, or would, were it not for her face, the patch over her eye.  She'd been careful with her costume though, organizing it so that a pair of slim, but elegant sunglasses fitted nicely over the sparsely-decorated porcelain mask would not seem at all out of place, long, dangling silver hoops in her ears and bangles that clinked when she moved her arms even the slightest bit, nails painted black, like her garments.  She traced the single black star she'd painted onto the white porcelain, wondering why she'd put anything on it at all, and why that. She took one last look in the mirror, adjusted the sunglasses one more time, the cranberry wig, rivulets falling over her shoulders and down her half-bare back, toned abs, pierced navel, indecent amount of skin showing between bared stomach, bared shoulders, and bared thighs.  No one would ever guess it was her.  Tonight she could be as human as she wanted to be.  No expectations.  Not tonight.  Tonight she was…. "FACELESS."  And she was ready to go.  She waited to be certain no sounds passed through the hallway outside her door and flipped the lights off.  "Tonight," she whispered, carefully, slowly, to get the feeling of the soft words in a mouth unaccustomed to the sound of gentleness on its own voice.  "Tonight," she tried again, relearning the sound of it, "I am faceless."

#

He made it a point to be fashionably late, that way, the halls would be empty and no one would see his approach.  He tried to think of someone to emulate, a way of moving, a way of behaving that best suited the mask he wore, and it came to him suddenly, the names of the two most confident people he knew.  'Seifer Almsay.  Irvine Kinneas.'  He took a deep breath as he turned the corner to the Quad, closing his eyes for a moment, remembering what to take from who.  So, he looped his thumbs into his pockets and thought about their individual ways of showing self-assurance: Seifer's smirking eyes, Irvine's gentleman swagger.  And it felt good, the way he combined the men to create something that was neither one of them, and both, an image of utmost confidence.  'As long as I have my mask, I'll be just fine.'

#

Fuujin was a little bored.  She stood by the railing staring out at the sea, when an entrance and some whispered words caught her attention and she turned, slowly.  Her eye locked on that mask.  Blood. SIN.  So confident, and with such green eyes.  She felt a pang in her chest.  'SEIFER.'  It wasn't exactly true.  Not exactly Seifer, but that easy confidence reminded her of him.  She missed Seifer, but, she'd decided a while ago to get past it.  One day, he'd walk right back into her life and try to turn everything upside down again, and she knew, she'd just let him, because she'd loved him for a long time, but, she'd decided to move on.  And now there was this guy, with the bright green eyes, smirking the way Seifer's used to,  but also with so much gentleness that it was hard to miss if you were paying attention.  He wasn't as muscular as Seifer had been, or even as Squall was, but there was tone and definition in his frame, enough that the tight leather pants and tank hinted at all the right things in all the right places.  He'd moved past the doorway and found her gaze following him.  'WHO?' her mind demanded, as she noted the tiny gold cross in his ear.  'Who?'  And something in her felt so strange and warm.  She just wanted to touch him.

But she tore her eyes away, staring out once again at the witch's moon that hung low over the sea.  Halloween.  It had never meant much to her.  Nothing more than a chance to escape, nothing more…but now…he was…in truth, without realizing it, the moment she saw Nida, she felt warm, like…like he was someone that she's always known, without ever realizing it.  'Such gentle eyes.'

#

Everyone noticed him when he walked in, and he could hear whispers when he passed.  Who is he?  Why is he here alone?  But his attention had been drawn to the corner of the Quad, where a woman stared off at the moon.  The one who didn't notice him, the only one who didn't seem to care.  And a strange feeling passed through Nida's gut.  He wanted to make her care.  But as he approached, he'd started to have some doubts.  'Hyne, she's stunning, and so so far out of my league,'  he thought, but then he remembered the voices around him, the people wondering who he was and the girls staring at his body.  He'd never thought his body was very impressive, not muscular, more sinewy, gymnastic, slim, but he did have a reasonable build, and strangely, the almost androgynous figure he bore seemed to draw attention to him even more, something he hadn't anticipated.  He'd blushed brightly under his mask when he'd heard one girl "whisper" to her companion, "I wish he'd take off that jacket.  I bet he has a great ass."  It was all he could do to keep walking, to not falter.  People didn't talk like that about him.  People didn't notice him.  He was just…Nida.  Most days people didn't even remember his name.

He cleared his throat to get the woman's attention, and she turned.  Only say enough to get the point across, he told himself.  Any more and there's a chance that, if Squall or one of them is nearby, they'll recognize your voice, and you don't want to have to explain.  "Dance?" he asked, reflecting on how stupid it sounded to just say that one word.

Fuujin turned and looked at him, holding out a leather clad hand, but, the fingers were bared, and he'd asked her to dance.  The man with those gentle green eyes wanted to dance…with her.  'ME.'  So, she reached out her hand.  Feeling warm all over when they touched, his fingers quite calloused.  Was this why Squall and Seifer wore gloves, so that their hands never got calloused like this?  But the feeling of them was so…she had to suppress the shiver that threatened to go up her spine.  She said nothing.  He didn't seem to need her to, as he led her to the dance floor.

She'd accepted.  He was grinning beneath the mask, just couldn't contain himself.  He could get used to this.  Her hands, he realized as he led her out to the dance floor, were strong, fingers long and slender, nails worn short, but not chewed at, just, practical.  He never realized just how much you could tell about a person from their hands when you didn't have anything else to go on. 

And they danced.  It was easy to forget everything else, even if they were strangers.  But Nida knew they'd have to stop soon, because the way that the bar through her bellybutton brushed against his stomach through the thin cotton  of his tank top was starting to make him a little more excited than he wanted to be in skin-tight leather pants.  He had to clear his throat before speaking.  "Drink?" he asked.

"… …" Fuujin took a moment to think of a sentence, instead of the "SURE" that wanted to come out of her mouth.  "That would be nice," she said softly, so softly that he caught himself leaning in slightly to hear her, and after grabbing some punch, they found themselves staring out at the moon together, as she had been doing when he walked in. 

"It's pretty," he said after a long silence.

"yeah," she whispered, and was surprised to find him holding his hand up, like an offering, which she took, brushing against those fingers again.  Hyne, she loved the feeling of them.  She could hold his hand like this forever, she just knew it.  Staring up at the moon.  She inched a bit closer and laid her head on his shoulder.  'Only tonight.  Tomorrow I have to go back to being myself, so for tonight, I just want…to humor myself.'

"So strange," he found himself whispering.  "Tonight everyone is faceless, and yet…we're all still essentially ourselves, aren't we?  I guess it was bound to happen that way.  All the same.  I had a lot of fun tonight, so…thank you."

It was late when he said that, only a few stragglers remained at the party, and they were among them.  Fuujin just nodded and righted herself.  It was nearly dawn, and time to go, she knew as well as he did.

"Can I walk you somewhere?" he asked, only the barest outlines were still visible.  They couldn't even see the masks anymore.

"NO," she said quietly, reaching up, and pulling the mask off of his face, a face that she couldn't see, and as long as that was true, they were still safe.  Her own came as well, and she brushed a hand over his soft skin, discovering the shape of his face beneath it, before leaning in and giving him the smallest of kisses on the cheek.  The magic of this evening was nearly over, they both knew it, but while it lasted…

"Thank You," she whispered.

Nida was touched, and surprised himself by touching her face and moving it smoothly to claim a gentle kiss, soft lips against soft lips, not taking anything particular, just existing together for a moment, as one.  It was brief, ending quickly, but leaving a lingering echo in it's wake.  When he pulled away, he took his mask, as well, from her hand, so fluidly that she hadn't even realized he'd done it for a moment, as they shared one more breath.  "Goodnight, hohshi*," he whispered, before moving away from her, sliding his mask back on, and departing down the hall once more.

###

It had felt like a dream, and it might as well have been.  Fuujin stared at her reflection in the mirror and ran fingers over the ceramic that still sat on her vanity.  "HOHSHI," she said.  But that was last night, and this was today, and she had to be Fuujin again now, so she slid into her pants, boots, started buttoning her blue shirt, pausing only briefly to touch the impulsive bar that pierced her stomach and her logical nature, before finishing the job and brushing out her silver hair.  It was a new day, and she had work to do.

#

Nida had woken up late, lost in a dream about a pale-skinned goddess that had spent an entire night in his company, dancing with him, holding his hand, who had actually thanked him for being near her, as if he could possibly want to be anywhere else at that time, and he barreled into the silver-haired Fuujin, who was known for her temper, when he was running down the hall to get to the elevator, and then the deck.  He was sure he was going to get himself a new asshole reamed when a startled, then perplexed, then stunned look crossed her face, and she…

#

She glared up at the man who'd knocked her over and fallen on top of her in a tangle of limbs, even as he scrambled off of her, green eyes wide.  'GREEN.'  She looked at him more closely.  She'd seen him somewhere before, she just knew it, but who was he?  'PILOT,' a mental voice reminded her.  He was that guy who piloted Garden.  But her eyes locked on something that caught her utterly by surprise right before she was about to ream him a new one…a tiny gold cross in his left ear, the very same cross that… 

She couldn't help herself, awestruck, she reached out and touched it.  His eyes widened, and as the realization hit, a grin spread across his face.  'GREEN EYES.  SIN.'  He whispered it reverently, like he was thrilled, but he couldn't actually believe it.  "Hohshi," he said softly.  "…Hohshi."  And he ran his fingers over her face as she had done to his not hours before.

He wasn't taken aback.  He wasn't horrified that he'd spent the night with Fuujin, that he'd kissed Fuujin.  If anything, he seemed glad.  "You're even more beautiful than you were last night," Nida dared to tell her.

And so, Fuujin dared as well, repeating what he'd done the night before, and gently, kissed him.  "NIDA."  He blushed, but smiled. 'She knows my name.' 

"Later," he told her.  "I'm already late.  Squall's going to kill me."  And he stood, holding his hand out to help her up.  "Sorry I knocked you over.  I'll be more careful from now on."

"THANK YOU," Fuujin replied, at a loss for anything else to say. 

"See you later, Hohshi!" he called behind him, but he was already darting up the hall once again. 

'He'll never learn,' Fuujin thought.  But that didn't matter.  It didn't matter at all.  Because she didn't really want him to.

"HOHSHI," she repeated again, almost reverently.  And for the first time, she knew, when Seifer came back, things wouldn't be the same.  She wouldn't let him turn her life upside down again, because…she didn't have to anymore.

~The End~

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*A/N: hohshi is Japanese for  "star" or at least that's what my Japanese/English dictionary claims.

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Well, it's a teensy bit early for Halloween, but only a few weeks.  So I'm still calling this my Halloween fic.  *takes a bow*  Nida/Fuujin.  It's cute!  Comeon, admit it!  Okay, actually, I think they're both just a bit ooc, but since they're both fairly minor chars, who's to say what they're thinking, right?  Anyway, in truth, I read a Nida/Zell fic that left me feeling sooo sad for Nida, so I had to write a fic where he gets to be happy.  And well, Fuujin just kicks ass, so…   heh.  Yeah, I like odd pairings too much.  I think I'm actually the first to think of this one too! Or at least, I've never seen this one anywhere else. (Lemme know if you find one though!) and r&r.

So yeah.

Happy Halloween Everybody!

~Banshee Puppet~