Disclaimer- I don't own Star Ocean: Till The End of Time.
"I think I lost them..." Fayt Leingod panted slowly, hands on his knees, sucking in breath after breath, feeling the sweat move down his back. He was currently with his back against the wall, both literally and metaphorically, in Peterny, trying not to get caught by-
"Where is he!"
"Fayt Leingod, when I catch you-"
"When we catch him, y'mean."
Fayt, taking a chance, ducked his head around the corner for a split second, and found his pursuers were still chasing him. Panicked, he set his back against the wall ram rod straight, not daring to breath.
And to think, he thought to himself, this day seemed to be going so well...
It was just another day in Peterny... or, as others believed, another day for Fayt to try and fail at Item Creation.
"Just give it up already!" Cliff groaned, wiping the soot from his singed hair. "Your sword doesn't need any more attack power!"
But oh no, Fayt Leingod, savior of the universe wouldn't listen. "Aw, comeon Cliff! I still need a few more spots filled..."
At seeing that he had been all but abandoned, he sighed. "Oh well... I guess I'll try again without them."
However, he had forgotten that they had been keeping a few other items they had created nearby, including a few... rather powerful emotion changing potions.
So it was just his bad luck when the item exploded again, with quite a bit of force, sending him and the potions falling to the floor in a rather massive cloud of smoke.
The potions spilled, and mixed in with the failed experiment, turning the smoke a rather vibrant shade of pink.
It was also quite bad (or good, depending on your point of view) luck that it was Nel, Maria, and Sophia who ran in first, having been closest (Maria fiddling with her gun, Nel keeping sentry, and Sophia shopping).
As it was, the three of them got inside in rapid succession, plunging into the thick smoke with abandon.
And everything just went to Hell.
Fayt awoke slowly, and to the pleasant feeling of something warm and soft underneath his head, and a very soft, feminine hand stroking his hair-
And jolted awake. "What the-" he sat straight up, completely startled to find Maria smiling sweetly at him, still kneeling from holding his head in her lap. "Maria! What are you doing!"
The Commander of Quark simply continued smiling at him starry-eyed.
Turning around, he found Sophia and Nel, who looked slightly dejected, but also staring at him in the same manner.
"Uh... guys?" Fayt asked hesitantly, backing away slowly.
"Fayt..." they all whispered in utterly creepy unison.
It was about this time that Fayt felt he was in deep, deep trouble.
"Here Fayt! Take my gun as a profession of my love!" Maria declared, placing her weapon forward as an offering.
"No! Take my father's blades!" Nel interrupted, doing the same with her knives.
"Forget them! I'm your oldest friend!" Sophia shouted, looking pleadingly at him.
And blinked again.
And then blinked for a third time.
And then... Cliff came in.
For a moment, he just stared.
And... you get the picture.
"Hot damn Fayt!" the Klausian whooped, slapping his hands on his knees jovially. "You are a stud my friend!"
"Cliff, I think something's wrong!" Fayt responded nervously, eyeing the three girls as though they were rapid dogs about to devour him. "I sort of messed up in Item Creation and-"
"Who cares if you're Fayt's oldest friend! He probably thinks of you as a sister!" Maria taunted, standing now, hands on her hips.
Sophia swelled in response, a furious glare in her eyes. "No he doesn't!"
"Does too!" the Commander retorted in a sing-song voice.
"Well, at least I don't look like his sister!" the Earth girl hissed, smirking.
Blinking, Maria took a step backwards, before she too, swelled with anger. Before she could speak, another voice interrupted.
"Why would he want either of you?" Nel said calmly, swaying her hips side to side as she approached a rather... distracted Fayt. "It's clear that Fayt needs an older woman... someone mature... and experienced." She smiled demurely at the boy, and leaned in-
Only to be dragged back by Sophia and Maria. "What did you say!" Maria snapped, growling and reaching for her gun.
"Who would want an old maid?" Sophia added, raising her staff.
"Why you little-"
And still, Fayt just blinked. "Cliff..." he said slowly, but the Klausian cut him off, placing a brotherly arm over his shoulders.
"Just watch, Fayt m'boy." Cliff said, wishing he had a pipe or something to smoke at the moment, to make himself seem older, wiser. "I think you're about to see one of the most wondrous sights in nature." He sighed, as if reminiscing.
"Girls fighting over you."
The girls in question were staring each other down, hands on their various weapons. They were coiled, ready to strike out at any moment.
Only a fool would dare interfere.
Fayt then proved his foolishness by stepping in the middle of this silent crossfire. "Guys, hold on! You don't want to kill each other!"
"Maybe not kill," Nel admitted, before a dark glint filled her eyes, "But I could see a good maiming in store for them..."
"Just try it grandma!" Sophia replied, raising her staff.
"GRANDMA!" the Aquarian was nearly foaming at the mouth, and only Fayt grabbing her by the shoulders managed to restrain her.
"Cliff!" he shouted desperately. "For God's sake, help me!"
"Nooo way man," the Klausian responded, raising his hands in the air. "I am never going to interfere in a cat fight again." And with that, he ducked back outside.
"DAMN YOU CLIFF! GET YOUR ASS OVER HERE AND HELP ME!" Fayt yelled, struggling to hold back the raging Nel.
"Hey! You let go of him!" Maria shouted, raising her gun at Nel, and firing a shot that nearly left a vacant space where Fayt's head would have been.
"Watch where you're aiming that!" the Earthling shouted, turning his head back.
Which was a mistake, as it turned out.
Seeing a chance, Nel leapt forward, blades flashing.
Maria and Sophia scattered, raising their weapons.
Fayt ran, hoping to find help.
And to escape the clearly inevitable Apocalypse.
Outside, Fayt ran blindly, frantically scanning the crowd for anyone he knew.
Finally, he spotted someone.
"ALBEL!" he shouted, running towards the Wicked. As he reached the other man, his hands fell to his knees, and he panted harshly. "Nel, Maria, and Sophia have gone crazy! They're trying to kill each ot-"
He paused, and blinked. "What are you doing?"
Albel the Wicked was currently sitting in a chair, leaning backwards as a young woman was...
Washing his hair?
"Getting my hair maintained, of course." Albel said matter-of-factly. "You didn't think those highlights were natural, did you?"
Blinking, and feeling as though the whole world had gone insane without him knowing, Fayt said slowly, "You. Albel the Wicked. Getting... your hair done?"
"Yes. Now leave me be worm." He sneered, and picked up a magazine (Bishonen Monthly), and began to read.
Fayt walked away slowly.
Until voices were heard.
"Hey! Where's Fayt!"
"Oh no! We lost him!"
And then he ran like the devil himself was at his heels.
That was about when he found himself here, he believed. Hiding in an alleyway, trying desperately not to get found by three rather... affectionate girls.
Trying and failing, it seemed.
"Oh crap oh crap oh crap!" Fayt took off, dodging behind alleys and boxes, doing anything and everything to put distance between himself and the girls.
"Wait Fayt! Don't leave me!"
"Come back to me!"
"Stop being such a naughty boy already, or I'll have to punish you!"
He pumped his legs a little faster.
He was running so fast that he ran headlong into a mass of flesh and clothing that turned out to be Cliff.
"Cliff!" Fayt shouted, forgetting the Klausian's earlier abandonment of him. "You have to help me!"
"Sorry kid." Cliff apologized, and hurled the Earthling over his shoulder roughly.
"CLIFF! WHAT ARE YOU DOING!" Fayt shouted furiously, pounding his fists into the Klausian's back and trying to reach his sword. "When you put me down, I'm going to MURDER you!"
"That's a hell of a lot better than facing those three again," Cliff responded, shivering in fright. "I tell ya, only thing scarier than one pissed off woman is three."
"DAMN YOU CLIFF!" he roared, and kicked his legs uselessly.
"No sense in avoiding the inevitable. They will catch you." The Klausian said sagely, continuing his walk.
Desperately, Fayt grasped at his metaphorical straws. "Albel's getting his hair done!" he shouted frantically.
"Are you serious?"
Fayt nodded. "Dead serious. Just saw him."
Cliff laughed, and tossed the boy over his shoulder. "This I gotta see!" and with that, he took off, leaving Fayt with his face in the dirt.
Sighing, the Earthling brushed himself off, rubbing the dirt off his face. "I don't know how this day could get any stranger..."
"THERE HE IS!"
He froze. "Oh sh-"
"-I don't believe this!" Cliff laughed, rolling on the ground. "You are getting your hair done!"
"Go away maggot." Albel growled, reaching for his katana.
"No way... I gotta find a camera or something." The Klausian sputtered, holding his sides, struggling to regain air.
Albel's eye twitched. "Go. Away." He ground out. "You are bothering me."
Cliff just kept laughing. "You... you really are like a woman..." he taunted breathlessly.
Of course, he stopped when the swish of the katana nearly took his head off.
Cliff ran, with a very, very angry Albel the Wicked chased after him, screaming curses and threats of various gruesome deaths.
"Now, now Fayt, you've been a bad, bad boy." Nel said bewitchingly, eyelashes flashing as she smiled slowly.
Fayt got very, very nervous, and backed into his corner a little more.
"Oy, he doesn't want to see your ugly face!" Maria shouted, pushing the spy aside roughly.
"He doesn't want to see his reflection either!" Sophia butted in, knocking the girl away with her shoulder.
"Don't push me!" Nel snarled, eyes narrowing dangerously.
"What are you going to do about it, you little savage!" Maria retorted, straightening.
Knives and guns were raised, and all Hell was about to break loose.
Luckily, Fayt had taken up on the distraction, to once more, begin running.
"WAIT FAYT! COME BACK!"
"Come back here darling, or your punishment will get worse..."
"Don't leave me!"
And he got the feeling that he'd be running for a long, long time.
This story is a twofold apology to all those STILL waiting for a chapter of All's Fair. First, I give you the romance you probably wanted. Secondly, I have an announcement. I'm taking the romance element out of All's Fair, and renaming it. You ask why? Because this sort of light hearted romance is too different from the serious overtones that both the game and my novelization are trying to take. There will be ONE pairing in the story. That's it. Sorry.
I'll also be posting another author's note in Chapter 6, so to get all my readers notified.
I'm truly sorry.