A/N: Just a short little thing that I felt like I should write. Warning: I watched a lot of anime in subtitles before I wrote this, so there's some gratuitous Japanese. Nothing too bad, and it's only... Well, you'll see.

I don't hate Eiko, by the way. I just don't particularly care for her as much as everyone else. This is more of a setup for any future Amarant/Eiko friend relations – keep in mind, I say friends because Eiko's like twenty years younger than Amarant. The poor girl, she has no chance with him. What a shame.

Takes place just after Amarant joins the group. Keep in mind my timeline is a little fuzzy.


The sun was way too bright and the sand of the desert was just way too hot. Luckily for Amarant, his boots are thick dragon-hide and probably could withstand lava, if he really felt like testing them.

Unfortunately, because of the heat, there's an excessive amount of whining.

"Zidane!"

Especially from one particular little girl.

"I'm tired!"

"We all are, Eiko," the blonde at the front of their group calls back to the little girl, who's lagging behind even Amarant, who usually tries to take up the back. "But we have to keep moving – we'll never reach Conde Petie at this rate!"

"But Zidane!"

"Quit your whining," Amarant growls, effectively silencing the girl.

At least, for a few minutes.

Then, the girl begins to sigh every few moments, managing to make even Vivi look back in something resembling a vague annoyance. Very vague, but still.

"If you don't shut up," the bounty hunter begins, turning to glare at the girl, only to find her suddenly matching his rather large pace.

"I'm tired!" she exclaims again, "Can't we stop for a little while?"

"No," Amarant snaps, "Shut up."

She falls behind again and sighs loudly.

A few minutes later, another few sighs, and finally Freya speaks up. "Eiko, please-"

"Okay, okay!" Zidane finally says, "Eiko, we'll take a break soon, okay? One more hour, and then we can rest."

"I can't keep going for an hour!" Then she exclaims, "Wait! I know!"

She grabs Amarant's wristband, forcing him to slow down. "Carry me!"

The redhead closes his eyes for a brief moment, and then looks down at the girl. "...What?"

"You heard me! Carry me!"

"No!"

"Aw, come on, Ama-chan!"

Amarant chokes suddenly, "What did you call me!"

Zidane laughs, "Yeah, Ama-chan, carry her so we can keep going!"

"I'm not your damned babysitter, Tribal!"

Zidane simply chuckles and waves a hand. The group keeps going but Amarant's forced to a near stop by the girl clinging to him.

Amarant doesn't like kids. They're obnoxious and loud, and whine too much. He hates them and wishes they would just not exist until they were his age and preferably with either a drink or a fight for him.

Eiko doesn't understand this, and therefore he can't shake her off as easily as the kids in Treno.

"Come on!"

Amarant flashes his claws and glares at the girl, not getting much of a reaction out of her at all. "Look, I'm a bounty hunter. I kill people. I don't carry whiny little brats just because their feet hurt."

"B-b-but-!"

"Quit it!" Amarant snaps, not realizing the very precarious edge that he's standing on. Moments later, he glances over at Eiko and notices that her lower lip is trembling. "No, don't you start-"

Eiko lets out a wail as loud as all hell and begins to cry violently, stopping dead in her tracks and covering her face with her hands.

The rest of the party, already a good ten feet ahead, stop and look back. Zidane has a very large grin on his face, and though Dagger looks mildly distressed, she has her hand over her mouth and Amarant knows she's probably smiling.

"Oh, for the..." The bounty hunter – the Flaming Amarant – puts a hand over his eyes and sighs. "Fine," he concedes, "Fine, I'll carry you – just quit your crying!"

Eiko looks up, blinking tears away. "You mean it?"

"...Yeah, whatever," he mumbles.

The girl grins and instantly the tears are gone and Amarant realizes he's met probably the only person who he will never defeat – a little girl who knows how to cry on-fucking-cue.

She leaps onto his back and he grunts, grabbing her legs and letting her grab his shoulders. Once he knows she's stopped squirming around, he starts moving again.

"I can see everything!" she exclaims.

"Don't shout in my ear," he growls, and she laughs.

The group keeps going and Amarant refuses to pay attention to their secretive little glances back.

If Lani could see him now...


Sad thing is, this is the most In Character Amarant I've written lately, if ever.