Title: Behind Closed Doors

Disclaimer: I do not own Star Ocean or it's Characters.

Description: Yes! Here's another SophiaAlbel fic. Just when you thought it couldn't be done!

This takes place after my story Good girl, Bad boy. I started on this shortly after writing the last one. Then, to top it off, I've had several people, online and off (not to mention the voices in my head) suggest that maybe this couple wasn't such a bad idea. So here's an attempt to broaden the thought. I'm trying to keep everyone in character, so forgive me if I fail on that. If you are wondering, the setting is back on Elicoor (since most of the game seems to take place there). The team is training so that they can be prepared to face any unknown horrors they might face at Firewall or Spiral Tower. I'm also putting this in story form instead of the Dear Diary form.

Characters included: Fayt, Maria, Cliff, Nel, And of course Sophia and Albel.

Now, on with the story:

Behind Closed Doors

Chapter 1: Changes

It had been a long walk through the Mountains of Barr. Most of crew started to slow their pace. Fatigue seeped into their muscles. Fayt dropped the bag he had swung over his shoulder and sat on it. Everyone stopped behind him. That was except for Sophia who seemed to have an unlimited supply of energy and who had been leading the group for the past mile and a half.

She turned and looked at the dismal bunch. "Oh come on guys. You aren't tired are you?" She smiled and kept walking.

Albel, who had been taking the rear, passed the group. He looked at Fayt. "Humph. No man would ever let a female out do him. Are you a man or a girl, maggot?"

Albel didn't wait for a reply. He kept walking. Soon he disappeared around the same corner Sophia had.

Cliff's shadow provided a little relief to Fayt as the Klausian stood over him. "Ummm Fayt? You think it's a good idea to let those two alone together? I mean, Sophia's so sweet and I don't think sweet and Wicked will mix good together."

"Yeah, maybe we should hurry," Maria responded. "Albel will probably take her head off if she got too cheerful with him."

Fayt stood and repositioned the bag on his aching shoulder. "Yeah, your right. Let's go."

The four of them continued walking. They rounded the corner to find the path completely empty.

"Huh, they couldn't have gotten that far…" Nel was cut off by a scream. It was unmistakable Sophia's.

The team took off in a full run to the next corner. Everyone expected to see Albel, bloody, holding the body of one dead Sophia.

Instead they saw Albel and Sophia engaged in battle. They were fighting two brass dragons and three minidragons.

Cliff cracked his knuckles, Nel drew her blade, Fayt readied his sword, and Maria aimed her gun.

"Blood Scylla!" Sophia chanted, releasing a darkened pool and a big cat thing. The waves she produced were enough to drain the minidragons completely and weaken the brass dragons. As she spun in the air to receive the healing the chant gave her in return, Albel efficiently took down the two remaining dragons.

Everyone's jaw dropped. Has she really gotten that good at fighting, Fayt wondered. Good enough that Albel the Wicked didn't mind engaging in battle at her side?

Fayt could do no more then stair at her. Finally his eyes left her and found Albel had locked in on him. Albel looked pissed.

"Humph, insignificant worms." He turned and kept walking.

Sophia, who was bent slightly regaining her breath, stood and looked at her four stunned travel mates. "Oh, finally made it huh? What took you so long?"

Fayt couldn't do more then utter indiscernible words under his breath. Cliff and the others moved pass the stationary Fayt and approached Sophia.

Cliff scratched the back of his head and smile. "Maybe I should stick close to Sophia; she seems to have learned a few new skills."

Maria crossed her arms. "I don't remember seeing that move before. What was it, Blood Scylla?"

Sophia laughed as she recovered the bag she had dropped when the dragons had taken her by surprise. "Oh, it was nothing really. Just been practicing. Anyway, it's going to be dark soon and don't you think we should find a place to camp before then?"

"She's right." Nel spoke in her typical 'that's a fact' tone. "This place isn't safe during the day. We need to be well prepared for tonight."

Sophia nodded and turned. "If I remember, there's a cave up ahead. You know, the scary one with all the dragon skeletons. Maybe we should stay there?"

"That would be logical." Nel walked past Sophia and in the direction of the cave.

"Then it's settled. Come on Cliff." Maria, followed by Cliff, started after Nel.

Sophia turned to follow but was stopped by a hand on her shoulder.

"Um Sophia?" Fayt smiled slightly. "I know I've been kinda busy lately and we haven't had much time to talk…"

Sophia smiled. "Oh that's okay. I understand. Don't worry about it Fayt. You know, you do worry too much. Now come on before we get left completely behind."

While they walked, Fayt wondered why he hadn't seen how much stronger she had gotten. She seemed a lot different then the girl who got mad when he said she was like a sister to him to that flirtatious girl on the beach at the Grantier Resort. She had seemed so dependent on him then. Now it was like she didn't need him anymore.

He kept glancing at her, but she never looked back. She looked straight ahead, smiling. She was smiling and that struck Fayt as odd. If someone had asked him 10 months ago how she would respond to the events they face today, he would have told them to go ahead and order the casket. He never would have guessed a fighter hid in her somewhere.

Fayt remained lost in thought as they made their way to the caves entrance. He looked at the team and smiled. Maria and Nel were washing their faces in the spring just pass the entrance. Cliff was stretching and Albel was perched against the mountain beside the cave. His arms were folded and his head tilted down slightly. He was once again staring at Fayt with the same pissed expression he had earlier.

Fayt walked pass him and into the cave. He felt his eyes on him until he was out of sight. Wonder what's up with him? He thought.

Sophia plopped her bag down and joined the girls at the spring. Cliff looked at the trio and shook his head. He spotted Fayt disappearing into the cave.

"Hey Albel," Cliff called; making is way to the statue still figure. "We're on clean up duty. Let's get the cave ready for an overnight stay."

"Maggot." Albel followed Cliff into the cave. He saw Fayt as he lifted bones and began pilling them in a corner. "Worm."

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Later that night, Albel sat alone at the entrance of the cave. He preferred to have the first watch. It gave him time to settle his thoughts enough to sleep. He sorted through his memories. He had initially come along for the hope of finding out that strength Fayt possessed to fully dedicate himself to utter nonsense.

Albel had been a loner for a long time. After a while of living that kind of lifestyle, the only thing that mattered was oneself. He thought he needed to follow Fayt to understand what insane dive could ignite a passion for something so meaningless.

He no longer needed Fayt. He understood now. He was himself now ignited and though it still wasn't clear to him, he could grow to like it. It had turned out Fayt wasn't the one holding the answers. He had found his answer two months ago. He couldn't forget the night he gave in and let emotion take over.

He smiled. He never smiled, but here he was smiling. The dark night had become a good friend to him. He wasn't ready to plunge head first into this new realm. He used the night to ponder. He used to the night for his secret rendezvous. During the day, he kept his wicked persona. It wouldn't make the transition easy if the maggots knew. At least she was willing to abide by his wishes and keep the secret they shared from the others.

He got the impression she liked this game. Maybe she wasn't the irritable goody goody he had initially thought. Or maybe she was just adjusting. Maybe he would one day…

His thoughts were interrupted by a tap on his shoulder. He stiffened as he readied his hand on the hilt of his katana blade.

"Oh sorry. Didn't mean to scare you," Sophia whispered.

He growled. "Didn't scare me." That was the only response he could find.

He stood and looked down at her. She wiped the sleep from her eyes and yawned.

"Your watch is over. Go on and get some sleep, I'll take over."

"Humph," he responded. He knew he should go inside. They were right in front of the cave and there was no telling who might be watching. Still, he found himself unable to move. Her eyes seemed to see straight into him. How could someone like her ever put up with someone like him? Breaking old habits was hard and he was still a bit heartless to her even when they were completely alone.

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Fayt fought his eyes to open against the dimness of the cave. It was still night but he couldn't sleep. He seemed only able to doze off and on. For a long time he would lay there and stair at what little he could see of his childhood friend. The cave was poorly lit, with just enough light to barely see the sleeping girl.

He felt terribly guilty about the way he had been treating her these past three months. In his mind he kept seeing the girl he had always known, the child who was carefree. She had always cheered him up when he was down, but lately he turned out to be an awful friend. His dad's death had to have been hard on her too. First she's running for her life, then captured by the Vendeeni, watches her 'uncle' die, and then finds out she's been genetically altered. He should have been there for her.

Fayt turned his head to look at her again, but found her sleeping sack empty. Startled, he rolled onto his belly and looked around the cave. He saw Cliff, Maria, and Nel still sleeping where they had been the last time he checked. Then he looked up to see if Albel was still sitting at the entrance of the cave.

The wind was knocked completely out of his lungs at what he saw. There stood Albel and Sophia. She had her arms wrapped around his neck. He had his hands firmly on her rear, and they were locked in a very passionate kiss.

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I went back for this chapter and gave it a title.

Thanks for the good reviews. Let me warn you though, Chapter 3 will have a little more action.

Chapter two's up.