Disclaimer: I, in no way although I dream, own FFX-2 or any associated characters therein. Blah blah. You've heard it before, kids.

Not an Awkward Situation in the Slightest
By: Kara Carmen Wayne

It was just slightly an awkward situation.

And, really, it was Rikku's fault. Wasn't it always, when it involved two of the most virtuous people in all of Spira and handcuffs?

Getting the keys from her had been useless, no matter how much Baralai pleaded, or Yuna threatened. Not that Yuna's threats meant much anything anyway, after all…

Their search for solutions eventually led them to a small service kitchen within the Bevelle Chambers near the Praetor's own room. Through the windows of the halls outside the service kitchen, the sounds of a celebration could be heard. After all, it was the annual Festival of the Eternal Calm. It was a grand celebration in honor of the defeat of Sin, of the High Summoner, and of her Guardians. All over Spira, people joined for games, fireworks, parades, and just to have a general good time celebrating their freedom from Sin.

But, alas, the dear Praetor and High Summoner were stuck in that small service kitchen, looking for solutions to unbind them from one another.

"Perhaps a fork or of the like?" Baralai asked, cocking his head at Yuna.

Yuna shrugged and looked around. "Perhaps… where are the feeding utensils?"

Baralai placed his free hand to his hip and glanced around. That really was a good question, as the Praetor didn't normally have to worry about feeding himself, though there were times he would try, just to be batted away respectfully by servicemen and women. "I am unsure…"

Yuna blinked and stared at him a moment, but reminded herself as to the reason. Any time she visited a temple, or Bevelle itself, she was waited on hand and foot and it really displeased her so. "Okay then, lets look."

With a gentle tug, Yuna proceeded to a set of drawers to shuffle through them; Baralai plodded beside her rather obediently. High Summoner aside, she was quite pleasant company that he didn't mind being attached to; truly, had it been anyone other than her, or perhaps Paine, he probably would have done something very un-Praetorly by then. Something painful.

Two drawers down on a set, and Yuna found a two-pronged fork. "There we go!" she said with a small giggle. She tugged it out and turned to face Baralai. Their hands were brought up to Yuna's right shoulder as she jammed the fork into her side of the cuffs, to try to pry them loose.

"Do… you know what you are doing, Lady High Summoner?" Baralai asked. His brow was furrowed as he watched her toy with the lock, her tongue sticking out of the corner of her mouth in concentration.

"Of course I do," she replied politely. "Rikku taught me quite a few things about lock-picking. But I am afraid this is just too big an object." Tossing the fork back into the draw with an aggravated sigh, she huffed. "Poo!"

A chuckle escaped Baralai. "'Poo'?" he asked.

"Yes, poo! Poo on that fork," she huffed again.

The Praetor was still amused. "Well, I should hope it does not have poo on it, or else that means the whole drawer is contaminated."

Yuna looked at him and blinked twice, before blushing and putting the back of her free hand to her mouth. A small giggle escaped her. "If you wish to get literal… then perhaps we ought to carefully back away from the poo-drawer and call in cleaning services?"

Baralai chuckled with her. "You know, you are far different from what I heard you were, two years ago."

As he said it, he gently tugged her to follow him for a large cupboard. Yuna cocked her head to the side this time, but didn't respond. He wasn't the only one to say that, that was for sure. Wakka, Lulu, Kimahri… Even Tidus, upon his return, mentioned how much she seemed to have changed from two years ago. She used to respond, simply, "People grow up, you know?" But in recent days she had begun to question exactly what was so 'grown up' in her behaviors… 'Just because you travel the world and have a fancy title does not make you grown…' she said to herself.

"What precisely do you mean, Praetor?" she asked, blinking as if she were clueless.

The Praetor hummed in response, opening the cabinet door. His eyes glanced over the contents within before he glanced to her. "Well, if you do not mind me saying so… you seem a bit more… lively."

A fond but small smile was given and he turned back to the cabinet. Yuna frowned slightly. Lively? Or immature? Regardless, it was an observation she couldn't deny. "Well, many things happen in two years, sir."

"Quite true, my Lady High Summoner."

Yuna sighed and then decided to not let the thoughts get the best of her. Though, if it were so obvious to someone like the Praetor, she had the good mind to reevaluate herself at a later time…

Propping up on her toes and putting a hand on his shoulder for balance, she peeked around him to see what he was doing. "What are you looking for, Praetor?"

"Well, perhaps there is something in here that is slippery," he replied. His free hand reached in to move items around. "If we coat our hands in something slippery, perhaps it will be possible to remove the cuffs by simply sliding them off."

"Really?" Thinking, Yuna came to not be so surprised. There was that one time Brother shoved his head through the bars of a railing on the Celsius, and Paine used Rikku's hand lotion to coat his head and pop it out; maybe, just maybe the same thing would work for them. "Is there something in there that would suffice?"

Baralai merely hummed again as he continued to delve. It wasn't too long before his hands pulled out a jar with some sort of brown substance in it. While Yuna scrunched up her nose at it, Baralai mused. "This might do well."

"What is it?"

"It is this wonderful chocolate-like spread. You put it on bread. Have you never had it before?"


"Well then…" Glad Yuna was so cooperative with his movements, the young Praetor pulled his hands together with the jar as he turned to face her and twisted the lid off. The jar was then tilted in her direction. "Do try?"

Always willing to try new things, Yuna didn't hesitate to stick her finger into the jar and scoop out a small portion. "It is awfully sticky for what we want, I think," she said. Her finger then was placed in her mouth thoughtfully.

"When it warms up, it will do just fine. If Gippal were here, he could simply breathe on it with that hot air of his to speed the process, but our body heat will substitute nicely."

Yuna snorted a giggle from around her finger. How mean! …but ironically fitting a joke—how sad. "This is delicious, Praetor!" Yuna said with a smile when her finger was removed.

"Is it not?" he replied with a chuckle. "Truly, it will be a sad sacrifice, but for the betterment of mankind." The statement provoked another choked giggle from the High Summoner.

At first, Baralai made a move for the utensil drawer, to grab something to scoop the spread out with, but then remember it would simply be futile to dirty a utensil of something that would be going on their hands anyway. After he placed the lid to the side, then, he dipped his fingers into the jar and pulled out the goopy chocolate-like substance and went to coat Yuna's hand with it. Ladies first, after all, especially if they were religious icons.

Yuna was patient as she allowed him to do as he pleased. The yummy substance would, theoretically, get soft from her body heat and she would be able to slide the cuffs off, and then she would have something yummy to lick at while the Praetor tended to himself. What a win-win situation.

The spread had already begun to soften as Baralai finished coating her hand up to her knuckles. "How shall we do this?" she asked.

"Let me…" He trailed off as twisted his cuffed hand around to hook his finger tips around one side of the cuff attached to her, and then did the same with his free hand. "I will tug, as will you, alright?"

Yuna nodded. "I am ready when you are, Praetor."

Baralai nodded in return before beginning to tug back on the cuff. Yuna, in turn, leaned back and gripped her cuffed forearm with her free hand for stability. Several moments of tugging went by, with seemingly no results…

…until her hand simply shot free of the cuff.

The Praetor fell back into the cabinet; the High Summoner yelped as she fell clear back onto the floor. It took several flails of a vicious struggle to free himself from the cabinet, but soon enough Baralai escaped and was at Yuna's side. He was worried that she was hurt, but both of his hands were covered in the chocolaty substance and he was unable to touch her.

"Lady High Summoner, are you alright?"

Yuna whimpered and nodded. "Yes, I am fine…" She lifted a hand to her forehead, to rub it, but squeaked as it was the hand that was covered in the spread. "Ooooh," she whimpered. Now she would have to find a washcloth to wash her forehead.

The Praetor opened his mouth to speak, but was abruptly cut off by a snicker at the entry of the small kitchen. Both of them turned their hands, to look in that direction. Elbow leaning at head-level on the doorframe, there was the Machine Faction leader himself.

"Wow!" Gippal said, snorting as he tried not to laugh too hard. "Chocolate covered holy people!" A thumb up was offered to them. "Collect the whole set!"

Baralai snorted, although he looked rather amused. "Gippal, what are you doing here?"

The thumb up was thrown over his shoulder. "Rikku drove a rover used to patrol the parades into Tidus. I was told t'come get you, Yuna, buuut since you two are busy with your kinky little Yevonite games, I'll just go tell Nooj." He scrunched his nose and winked his one good eye at them before turning on his heel and walking away, letting out a hardy laugh.

Yuna and Baralai, eyes wide, exchanged looks with one another, before struggling to their feet to chase after the troublesome Al Bhed before he could reach and tell, well, -anyone-.