first humor fic. Normally I don't do stories that are just flat out ridiculous, but I got this mental image and it just wouldn't leave—so I figured, hey, what's the harm? So without further adieu, I give you...

Bad Things That Happen to Auron, or, Auron in FFX-2

Physically Auron was only thirty-five, but after all his life experiences he considered himself an old man, and was therefore allowed to be fixed and permanent in his ways. The Sphere Grid, antiquated mode of battling though it was, had served him very well in the past and so it was understandable that he eyed this new 'Garment Grid' system with disquiet and distrust. Perhaps it was because he was old, but surely the fact that Rikku kept on giggling and shoving it at him also made him suspicious.

"Come on," she urged, her green eyes twinkling, "Just try it. You need to blend in with modern Spira."

"I've never had a problem with fading into the background." Auron said, looking down at the Garment Grid with distaste. While the Sphere Grid had been a large, complex affair of many nodes and spokes, the Garment Grid was almost painfully simple and small. It looked like a tarot card made of stone, with tiny dresspheres sitting snugly in each little node. How were those marble-sized lumps supposed to do anything?

"Maybe it was like that before, but you're a two-times legendary guardian now!" Rikku pointed out, thrusting the grid at him. "People will recognize you even if they were deaf, dumb, and blind!"

"The only way to make you unrecognizable is to give you a little costume change." Yuna said, nodding. "We're not asking a lot, Sir Auron. Just try the grid. Please?"

And she batted her eyes in a way so convincing that Auron grudgingly took the grid from Rikku's eager hands. His misgivings intensified as Rikku burst into a fit of giggles and Yuna bit her lip, trying her best not to smile. He glanced at Paine, who tactfully looked away before he could see the twinkling in her eyes.

"I'll try it once." He muttered and looked down at the grid. There were six nodes in the Garment Grid, but only two of them were filled. He had no idea what they were, but he assumed one of them was his initial dressphere, whatever that was—which meant there was only one other dressphere to change into...

Auron closed his eyes and visualized himself as a bright red glow on the Garment Grid. With a little mental jump, he leapt lightly from one dressphere to the other, trailing a scarlet line behind him as he moved through the air. Almost immediately a blast of air rushed over him, shredding his clothes—but before his pride or decency could suffer (too greatly), another rush of wind replaced his outfit...with something else entirely.

At first, Auron was only aware of being uncomfortable—VERY uncomfortable. The next thing he was aware of were Rikku, Yuna, and Paine all staring at him with an identical expression of slack-jawed shock on their faces.

"What?" He asked, his voice coming out more gruffly than he intended. But his voice, instead of frightening the girls into talking, had the reverse effect—Paine spun away, her frame shaking with suppressed laughter as she covered her mouth with one hand and held her sides with the other. Yuna sank to the floor, covering her face, giggles squeaking out past her lips. Rikku keeled over, her guffaws ringing off the walls so loudly that they echoed in the Celsius's spacious cabin. Their reactions lit Auron aflame with suspicion and not a little anger. "What did you do!?" He demanded angrily.

In response, Rikku (still laughing hard enough to wake the dead) pointed over at a mirror in the cabin's corner. Auron stalked over to it, glaring at the girls (mostly Rikku) over his shoulder. Black feathers, not unlike the crests decorating Kimahri's back, tickled his face. Wait—black feathers?

He stopped in front of the mirror five feet away and stared at himself. A strangled yelp of horror tore itself out of his throat and he stumbled back, falling heavily onto the floor. Perversely he could not shut his eye to block out the bone-chilling sight of his own reflection.

Some cosmic—or perhaps, girlish—joke had caused his regular, conservative robe and armor to be exchanged for a leather suit so tight that it was almost painted onto his muscular frame. The cause of his discomfort a few seconds earlier was painfully clear, seeing as the black pants were low riders and laced, of all things, across his crotch. Thankfully a triple- stranded belt of gold chains covered his hips in a more decorous fashion, although the chains were so bright and so gaudy that perhaps more attention was focused there instead of deflected away. The black leather vest he wore had a deep, scandalously plunging neckline that went almost all the way down to his navel. Black fingerless gloves exposed the gaudy gold jewelry he wore on all, yes, all, his fingers. Even his sunglasses hadn't escaped unscathed; instead of being framed in a muted, respectable silver, they were set in bright gold, and his lenses were yellow! To top it all off, there were black feathers on the hems of his vest that formed a ridiculous crest around his head.

"AHHHHHHHHH!" He screamed, unable to contain the horror. "AAHHHHHH! AAAAAHHHHHHH!"

Rikku screamed too, tears streaming down her face as she clutched her sides, writhing on the floor. "AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

"Pfffft!" Paine snorted, stumbling toward the bar to get a drink of water. Yuna was still bowed over, giggling helplessly.

Panicking, Auron reverted back to his default dressphere, feeling an overpowering wave of relief sweep over him as his familiar red coat and black clothes appeared again. Jumping to his feet, he stormed up to Rikku and hauled her off the floor, clutching her by the long scarf she now affected. Shaking her like an errant puppy, he snarled, "WHAT was that monstrosity your put me into!?"

"S...songstress..." Rikku managed to gasp out, peals of laughter interrupting her regular speech. Auron pinned her thunderously with a single-eyed gaze.

"SONGSTRESS!?" He roared so loudly that Barkeep's glasses rattled in their holdings.

"I think for men it's called "Troubadour"..." Rikku giggled before dissolving helplessly into laughter once more.

Auron swung to look at Yuna, who was pulling herself onto her feet with the aid of a table. Tears glistened on her face, and when she looked at Auron she burst into peals of laughter and immediately fell back onto the floor. He looked at Paine, and she choked on her glass of water, coughing and hacking. Feeling an almost homicidal rage fill him, Auron stormed out of the cabin before his temper could make him do anything he would (maybe) regret.

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Author's note:

This was brought on by a daydream I had a couple days ago. When the mental image of this occurred to me, I burst out laughing so suddenly that my entire AP English class firmly believes I'm touched in the head. Yeah...

Oh yes—I'm a pretty decent artist, so anyone who actually wants to see what Auron in Songstress/Troubadour garb looks like, drop me a review with your e-mail. I'll send a picture to you, just as soon as I can stop smirking long enough to actually draw it. Hee hee hee...

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