a/n: Marche switches jobs all around in my game, but here I settled for Fighter after getting him the Double sword skill as a Ninja so he could use the Ayvuirs. All names of the clan members are chosen within the game and as for my clan name…I had nothing else to name it…My imagination is the size of a minnow's. Pfff, Final F. for Final Fantasy. Woe is to the imagination deprived author! No laughing at my pathetic clan name.
Oh, and for me, Muscadet was on that little island on the bottom right-hand corner. Above it was Eluut Sands. Next to Eluut to the left is Sprohm. You get the event in whichever town you first set foot in but I chose Muscadet.
Disclaimer: I do not own FFTA, I have a cartridge though.
Summary: OneShot Marche x Ritz light fluff. A question that only one person can answer, too bad she doesn't want to ask and he can't answer.
Am I Cute?
It was like a small sandy hell. Ritz braced herself as another wind pummeled her with sand and she winced, trying to locate the monster she was currently battling. The red dragon was oblivious to the sandstorm and charged at Ritz. She held her Femme Fatale and lunged forward at the monster. It swiped at the fencer with its massive crimson claws as Ritz rolled to the front of the dragon's body. She thrust the rapier into its chest with deadly accuracy and the dragon fell back with a deafening roar, dead.
She sighed and wiped the sweat on her head with the back of her hand and looked over to the others. She heard a disappointed whimper behind her and whirled around to see the clan hunter, Diesel, looking dejectedly at the ground.
"Aww…I wanted to capture that one…" He pointed to the rotting dragon and pouted at Ritz. "You're too harsh to monsters."
Ritz gave a devilish smirk and laughed. "Oh, let's hear you say that again after you see just how vicious some of these guys are. You just stay back and shoot. Close combat, Diesel." Diesel pouted even more and huffed.
"Fine Ritz, I'll just make sure I capture them before you kill them. Now for compensation…" Diesel announced sweetly and placed his arm around her shoulder. As if he was her lover, he put on a content face and lightly kissed her cheek.
"Gah, get off me!" She shoved the hilt of her rapier into the hunter's stomach, knocking the wind out of him and making him fall to the ground. Ritz fumed in an attempt to cover her blush and stomped her foot into the sand. "I knew you had some ulterior motive, you perverted little hunter! Next time I'll make sure to hit you where it hurts!" She growled and then made to stomp on Diesel.
Shara grabbed hold of Ritz's arm and dragged her away from the hunter who was being reprimanded by a gray Nu Mou, none other than Ezel. "Come Ritz, remember he's still on our team. The engagement's not over yet but I think Marche can handle him." The fencer directed her gaze to the blond boy fighting the last remaining member of the clan, a Fighter who was obviously realizing his hopeless situation after a few attacks.
The iron clad fighter leapt and struck at Marche, who in return parried with his two blades and flashes of blue and red streaked across the desert air as he slashed back at his opponent with the two Ayvuirs.
Blood blossomed from the two huge gashes on the fighter's body and he dropped to the ground, unconscious.
"The win goes to Clan Final F.!" The Judge declared and disappeared in a flash of light as the opposing clan woke up healed, albeit grumpy over their loss, from the Full-Life's effect.
"Nice parry there. It was all calculated and positioned perfectly." Nusratt, the clan soldier, continued to flatter Marche as the clan leader insisted it was nothing and that it was all luck, not skill.
Ritz watched from the side and smirked. "Pft. Marche, I bet he likes all the attention Nusratt gives him…" she said it to no one in particular but Shara observed how Ritz's eyes were continuously on the goldenrod-haired boy who was now at a loss of what to say or do at Nusratt's ramblings. The viera could only silently snicker at her friend and then sneezed because she had inhaled a few grains of sand.
"Let's go Ritz, everyone else is already ahead of us." Shara turned her face to the rest of the clan moving towards Muscadet. "Ritz…Ritz…Ritz!"
"Huh? What?" The girl finally broke from her trance-like state and noticed the glare her viera friend was giving her and the movement of people in the sands. "Oh! Uh, okay."
The two companions chatted on the engagement for a while, with Ritz giving active demonstrations, and then both eavesdropped on the sporadic conversations amongst their clan members. Ezel was telling Diesel that he had proceeded too hastily with the flirting and that he had to be more suave. Diesel nodded furiously trying to remember how to do it right and took the hermetic's words to heart. The white Nu Mou next to the hunter could only sigh and ponder why Ezel, an infamous anti-law card creator, supposedly had knowledge of wooing a woman. When Babus had asked, Ezel simply winked and replied, "Gossips you know!" Babus looked in dismay at the hermetic and only groaned.
Meanwhile, to the far left side was Montblanc watching Marche stammering at all of Nusratt's flattering comments. When Nusratt mentioned how skillful he was, the fighter would say that it was all luck. Then Nusratt would be marveled at how Marche had so much luck and the fighter would retire to saying it was nothing. Then the soldier would exclaim how modest he was and Marche would be at a loss of words for anything he said would ultimately be used against him. He shot a pleading look to his moogle friend who shrugged apologetically. The boy sighed and stared at the ground while trudging along with Nusratt in tow.
Ritz yawned from boredom and suddenly had an idea. "Say Shara…how about a quick race?" Her face had a whole competitive look on it now.
The viera mirrored her friend's look and nodded. "The challenge?"
"Why, whoever gets to Muscadet first!" Ritz said as if it was an obvious thing.
Shara was up for a race but not a marathon. She wrinkled her face at her friend. "But Ritz, that's fifteen hours of walking! You really want to run all the way?"
"Just for a while come on Shara…" she asked in the most innocent face she could muster, which wasn't very innocent at all.
Ritz pleaded with her, her temper rising quickly. She wasn't going to grovel over a race but she was now desperate for some sort of entertainment.
Shara stole a quick glance at Ritz and saw the vein in her temple throbbing in bottled annoyance. "Fine…but not all the way there, how about just up to that rock over there?" She pointed at a huge mass of rock that rose majestically like a pinnacle among all the sand. It had the sheen of dirty red and tan mixed together and small sprouts of fern laced on it. Shara readied an arrow on her bow and shot at the finishing point. The arrow whizzed through the air and looked as if it was penetrating the sand in the air. It hit the rock and broke into a mess of twigs and metal that was barely visible. Ritz had a questioning look on her face as in 'What was the point in that?' and Shara smiled. "Just checking to make sure it wasn't a mirage."
Ritz snorted at her friend's excuse. "Anyway, let's get this race going. We'll need someone to say 'go'…" She turned her head to look for someone and her eyes instantly fell on Marche. She waved at him and shouted, "Marche! Hey Marche!"
He looked over to her and waved back with a smile. The wings on his fairy boots began to flutter and in an instant he disappeared and materialized in a white light next to Ritz. He leaned over, his face inches away from her. "What's up Ritz?"
The girl yelled in surprise and fell backwards into the sand. She spluttered out the grains and shook her head to rid herself of the sand and glared at Marche. "Don't do that!" she huffed angrily. She noticed how warm her face was and tried to make herself look mad instead of flustered. "I'm going to wring your neck with your boots!" She growled threateningly though the pitch of her voice was higher than usual.
Marche chuckled and replied in an apologizing tone. "Sorry Ritz. It's a habit, I swear." He squatted and held out his hand to Ritz to help her up. She stared at the hand and had a silent debate in her mind. If she didn't grab it, she'd seem inconsiderate and rude. Yet if she did, she felt her head would become too red and explode. She couldn't use anger to cover that up. But before she came to a conclusion, she became aware that she had already grabbed his hand. Marche stood up and pulled her up also. "Ritz, are you ok? Your face is completely red…" His voice trailed in Ritz's mind.
"Eh, i-it's nothing! Just the desert heat getting to me" She laughed nervously and hastily added her purpose to call him over. "Oh and we called you over because we need you to count us off for our race, right Shara?"
The viera had blatantly been laughing madly because she was unable to keep a straight face and only nodded her agreement.
"But didn't you say the heat was getting to you? Unle-"
"Count us off dammit!" she snapped evasively.
Marche blinked at her and watched the two get into position. He looked a tad worried but shouted the count off anyway. "One…Two…Three…GO!"
There was a rush of dust as the boy coughed and squinted through the airborne sand. There were two hazy brown figures which he could only guess was the racers.
The race had been a long grueling one. The finish point was much farther than it had seemed and much bigger too. The two had run with all their might, but their strength and will was weakened by the deadly combination between the length of the race and the scorching heat of the sun. They were so senseless from the fatigue that they didn't care who had won the race at all and was just glad for shade when they finally did arrive at their destination.
"Hah…Hah…" Ritz panted and collapsed onto the sand. She hid in the shade of the rock and leaned on it. "Well that was fun, wasn't it?" She asked Shara while taking quick breaths.
"I'm not answering that." She replied dryly. Shara seated herself underneath a thick shrubbery that was quite far from Ritz and faced away from her human friend, leaning on the rock.
"Hey, don't blame me! You're the one who chose this rock in the first place." she scowled then groaned. "I'm too tired to reason anymore."
Her viera friend simply gave a sort of consenting grunt before silence crept in. Shara was simply resting, but Ritz on the other hand was thinking. She sat upright, brought up her knees to her chin, and reached for her small bag. She took out the small blue rose which Marche had given her once and gazed at it. Even though it was nearing its time of death, it was still a magnificent shade of dark blue with small olive-colored leaves framing it. She raised it to her eye level and inspected it closely with a light smile on her face. Ritz remembered how she had gotten it like it had happened only yesterday. She had requested for help in the pubs because her clan had run into more than they could handle. How poetic that the person to take that mission was none other than Marche, who at that time, Ritz was completely against. She didn't want to leave behind this world and return to the place where she would lose everything she had gained. She knew it was the right thing that Marche was doing but she couldn't help wanting to stay here. After all, who'd want to leave? Even Marche showed doubt. But he had that crazy sense of justice that almost all heroes in any games had. She quietly laughed and stared at the horizon.
Memories of him flashed through her mind. What could she gather from these memories about Marche? She thought back to those days when she had fought him, believing that he was her sworn enemy. She never would've had time to sit down like some prissy girl and think about what she considered him back then and sigh, squeal, whatever those girls in her class did. Only getting missions, having fun, and defending the world she loved more mattered to her. It was… selfish.
But she had a feeling Marche might not have condemned her as a selfish person, it was only a reasonable thing to do, wasn't it? More little memories floated in her mind, when she had been accepted into his clan, the excitement of all the missions she had with them so far. And right now, the one shining in her head the most was the previous incident. She could still remember that short moment when she was staring at his ever-so-blue eyes. It was as if time had stopped so she could get a closer look. The sun gleamed on his goldenrod hair, small bangs framed the boy's face, and wind had caused them to shift slightly and the antennae-like hair on his head. They moved with the wind in harmony but she was truthfully still lost in his gaze. Ritz closed her eyes and tried to imprint it in her mind.
Would she ever be like him? Not likely. She wasn't a person who sacrificed everything for nothing. She knew Marche had flaws yet she still considered him flawless. Was it possible for someone imperfect to be perfect? Or was it all just something in her mind? She twisted her expression to fit the confused thoughts swimming in her head. She was plain puzzled of herself. Since when had she, Ritz, the brazen and tough girl, ever thought things like this. It was very unlike her, even she agreed to it. But, casting those thoughts aside for now, Ritz cupped the rose and continued to smile at it.
Suddenly, the flower disappeared from her hands. Ritz felt as if she was hit by lightning. She sat there in the same position with widened eyes for one moment, digesting what had happened before instincts kicked in and she somersaulted forward, drawing her weapon in the process. There was a katana dug into the sand where she had just been.
Soon, the normal Judge whistle was heard, signaling the start of the engagement.
"Shara!" Ritz yelled over to her friend who was shooting arrows as fast as she could. But she was soon preoccupied by another attack on her. The fencer's nimble body allowed her to dodge while she slashed horizontally, unleashing a burst of sharp energy. A cry of pain was heard and the hiding ninja appeared, clutching his wounded arm. He swore and ran for his katana. She lunged at his retreating form and thrust her rapier at her target, piercing his side as blood dripped then gushed onto the tan grains. The ninja fell to the ground in defeat. Ritz took in big breaths as she noticed three assassins charging at her. Shara was busy fending off one persistent ninja with various arrows protruding from his body. The girl finally realized what had disappeared from her and glared at her opponents with furious eyes. She tore at them and instantly, they were on the ground. Ritz inspected all of them for the rose but none of them had it. She stamped her foot in anger and felt a small prickling feeling in her eyes.
"Aw, don't tell me you're going to cry, little girl."
She whirled around with her weapon at ready to face a ninja clad in black. He appeared the same as the others, but had a feeling of superiority and authority around him. The man was holding the rose by its fragile petals and Ritz watched in pure panic as some petals began to look like they would fall.
"A desert rose. How lovely, do you not agree? Though for someone like you, I doubt you'd understand the pure beauty of this flower."
Ritz was taken aback by this comment. "Wha-what! Who do you think you are, ambushing someone and then insulting them!"
"Oh, you're able to tell between a compliment and an insult. Congratulations." He smirked as she began to show traces of livid rage, gripping her rapier so hard that her knuckles turned white. "Oh now, I'm just a member of thieves and after what you did to my comrades," He swept at the surrounding area with his hands at the would-be carnage. "I think this is fair punishment." Just like Marche had done, the wings on the ninja's boots fluttered rapidly and he disappeared. Ritz turned her head everywhere to see where he had gone and found him on top of a small mound of rock on their race finish point. Up there, the winds were much stronger and the flower was beginning to drop petals. She got ready to attack him but the man simply shook a finger at her. "Now now, attack me and this little flower will soon become potpourri." He confirmed his threat when he plucked one petal and Ritz watched in horror as it simply fell, momentarily glinting in the sun like a shard of tinted glass.
"So what're you going to do, little girl?"
She resorted to swearing at him.
"Tch. This is why I said you'll never understand the beauty of this flower. What sort of girl are you…Saying what you think all the time with no show of restraint…A love of swinging swords around in engagements like some barbarian…" Ritz gaped at him in shock of all he was saying to her. "Girls should be a bit more refined, show a bit of class and elegance. Men like a girl like that. No matter how pretty a face is, when covered with grime, it's still ugly. You're very un-cute like that you know. I doubt many boys will be able to see past you other than maybe a friend like that."
That comment slapped Ritz in the face and she nearly staggered. Her head dropped and she stared at the sand. She never was the person to care much what someone ever said. She was bold, out-spoken, and nothing like her fellow female classmates who would sit around giggling and fawning over a boy. And she was damn proud of it. Yet why did the things this ninja say affect her so? It was all unlike her to even go near this subject. Why, by now she should've slit the guy's throat and moved on with her life. But here she was, listening to all her flaws.
She was very confused.
The ninja looked down on her from his perch. He gave a small 'hmph' and teleported in front of her again. He dropped the rose and disappeared again not before saying: "Learn."
The Judge gazed at the scene and whistled. "Win goes to Clan Final F.!" The same Full-Life effect took place and the fallen began to stir.
"Persistent little… Hey Ritz!" Shara came over to her and waved although Ritz's back was to her.
The pink-haired girl quickly stashed away the flower, mentally remembering to press it in a book and greeted Shara energetically, perhaps too energetically. "Hey Shara!" She waved and tried to sound as cheerful as she could.
Shara shook her head and tilted it to her left, hitting her skull with her hand to shake out the sand in her ears. "Ugh, sand is very annoying…" She straightened up and looked at Ritz with a grin. "But before that, the clan is already here." The girl moved her gaze and before she knew it, she had Marche materializing next to her again.
"Hi!" She once again yelped and fell back but this time Marche had caught her in his arms. "Ah, I knew you'd fall. But this time I caught you, so no penalty! Ritz, don't get so mad…your head might explode you know." He stated at Ritz's pink face.
Ritz stood up immediately and mentally thanked any deity out there watching for the oblivious mind of Marche, "Y-Yeah!" With an awkward laugh, she shot across the sand with Shara in tow, yelling, "I'm going to the… the pub!" The viera dug her heels into the sad and bickered with her friend for a few moments, leaving a puzzled Marche behind them. Ritz gave quick glances to him and he raised an eyebrow at Shara's laugh.
Finally, Shara gave in to Ritz's constant pestering and parted with the rest to walk into the Spina Lodge.
Ritz walked into the cool building and down the two wooden steps while Shara stretched on the second step. "Whew, I'm bushed!" The fencer yawned and sighed out in relief for a good night's rest.
The viera looked at Ritz in awe, "You were going all out in that engagement! How many of them did you KO?"
She looked back at Shara and replied modestly, "They weren't much of a challenge." Her voice was now empty of her energy.
"You're too good, that's the problem!" Shara flattered in happiness. But to the viera's surprise, Ritz walked over to the side and stared at the ground, her head hung low. "…? Ritz? What's wrong?" she asked in a concerned voice to the girl.
Ritz looked up and averted her gaze to the gray walls of the pub. In a meek voice different from the usual Ritz, she asked her friend. "Shara…Be honest with me."
Shara stared at her in concern. "What?"
Ritz started walking away from Shara and into the depths of the pub. She stared at the ground again with her eyes closed in thought. "I'm…" She walked a little more in and gazed at the end of the building. She gathered her dignity and asked honestly. "I'm not very cute, am I?"
At hearing this, Shara immediately ran next to Ritz, yet stayed bit behind to give her the space she needed. "What!" She gaped at her friend and the new personality she was showing.
Ritz was a bit surprised to hear her companion's shock and turned to face her. "I mean, I say what I think all the time. And I love swinging my sword around in engagements…"
Following that was a pregnant pause as the two stared at each other.
Then Shara broke the ice by giggling. "…tee hee!"
Ritz gawked in disbelief at her friend who was now completely laughing while facing the ground. Here she was, asking a question from the depths of her heart and she was laughing? She puffed her cheeks and huffed at Shara. "What's so funny! Hey, I'm being serious, here!" she yelled for the giggling was drowning out her voice. "I just don't think I fit the 'cute' model, that's all." She was regretting asking this now.
Shara abated her laughing slightly and look up at Ritz with tears of mirth in her eyes. "Why don't you ask Marche what he thinks?" she managed to choke out, enunciating on the word 'Marche' before going back into her laughing fit.
Ritz was dumbfounded at the reply she got and felt the familiar blood rushing up to her head. "No way! Why should I care what he says!" She stuttered and bit her lip.
And as fate would have it, Marche came into the pub and stood next to Shara. "Ritz! Shara! What's up?" He greeted them in his usual cheery self.
Ritz cursed whatever deity she had just thanked before.
Shara clapped her hands and looked over at Marche with a devilish grin. "You're here at just the right time!"
Ritz couldn't believe it. With her face a hue of crimson, she screamed at Shara as loud as she could before anything happened. "Shara!"
The viera simply pouted at Ritz while Marche jumped a good feet backwards and stared at Ritz nervously with fear and confusion in his eyes. He suddenly had the feeling that it was better to not be a part of this conversation if it involved a screaming Ritz, but looked at them with a puzzled face.
Ritz flailed both her hands in front of her and laughed timidly, stammering her words. "N-Nothing! Nothing! So, Marche, um, what's up?" In that state of panic and hesitation she copied what Marche had said. She silently swore to herself and bit her lip again.
The blonde boy was at a loss for words also and was surprised at the question at him. He alternated between staring at the floor, thinking, and looking up at her. Like Ritz, he hesitated slightly and managed to answer. "Ah, um, nothing much I guess?" With that, he slowly backed away while his eyes were locked with Ritz's.
Shara glared at Ritz. "Ritz, now you can't just leave him hanging like this…"
The girl retorted hastily and in a shaky yet confident voice. "Yes I can! Um…" she looked at Marche and crumbled slightly under his gaze. "I…I mean, sorry. It's really nothing. Nothing at all!" she apologized as genuinely as she could. Desperate to find something to talk about, she glanced at the mission paper. "Let's talk about the next mission, shall we?" she chuckled meekly at the two.
Marche was all for the idea and nodded vigorously to put this awkward conversation behind them. Shara shook her head disapprovingly at Ritz.