……………

You Have to Smell Pretty

……………

"He's stinky."

"Oh come, Yuna! That is not a nice thing to say."

"But he smells like the potty!"

"She's got a point there, Braska…"

"Not a word, Auron. Now, Yuna, I know his odor is a bit…questionable, but surely you could stand to eat dinner with him?"

His daughter, barely more than a toddler, pursed her bottom lip as she considered his offer, small arms crossed over her chest with her shoulders hunched up in defiance. Braska, currently kneeling in front of her with an imploring look on his face, was attempting to ignore Auron, who he knew was smirking behind him. Auron had warned him, after all, about the difficulties inherent to taking a meal with Jecht. It wasn't that he was a bad person by any means…just…

"But he's stinky!"

Stinky, apparently.

Braska sighed, wondering what his daughter had against the man from Zanarkand. She only met him once, after all, soon after his arrival on Besaid. Since then, Jecht had been holed up in the Lodge, learning the do's and don't's of the world, and generally driving Auron to his wit's end. But Braska liked the man, very much so, and wanted to do his utmost to make him feel welcome, especially since he was so…out of place.

So, when Jecht had mentioned he had a son Yuna's age, Braska had thought spending a little time with her would help ease his mind. Putting on his best fatherly face—and ignoring the fact that his hat was leaning a bit too far to the side—Braska tried just one more time.

"Now Yuna, you are a good girl, aren't you?"

"I am!" Yuna proclaimed with a bright, confident smile, but faltered a bit under her father's stern expression. "…aren't I?"

Don't give in, don't give in, don't give in…

"Well, good little girls are nice to guests, even if they are stinky," once again, Braska chose to ignore Auron's snort of laughter. "So, if you can't even sit at the same table with Jecht, you must not be a good girl."

"I…I'm not…," Yuna sniffed, big, beautiful green and blue orbs filling up with tears as she gazed back up at him, her lower lip trembling. "…'m not…good? You…you don't…"

"Here it comes," Auron muttered, just low enough to keep Braska from hearing him. The Guardian shook his head sadly, arms crossed as he sighed. "He doesn't stand a chance."

"…papa don't…love me?"

GIVE IN, GIVE IN, GIVE IN…

"Of course I love you!" Braska broke out immediately, hat tumbling off his head as he scooped up his little girl into an embrace. He knew he'd been out-maneuvered, but he just couldn't help himself. "If you don't want to eat with stinky people, that's just fine with me!"

"Oh ho! So little Yuna don't like how I smell, eh?"

Braska nearly squeaked with surprise as Jecht seemed to come out of nowhere, kneeling down next to him as Yuna wriggled deeper into his embrace, eyes wide at the stranger's sudden closeness. Jecht only grinned, warm, wild eyes twinkling with mirth and a strange familiarity.

"Well then…I don't like how you smell, either!" Jecht proclaimed, thrusting his chin up. "So there!"

Yuna stared at him in pure shock for a second. It passed, however, and her brows furrowed, her face caught in an angry, defiant pout.

"I'm not stinky!"

"Says you!" Jecht shot back, making a rather ridiculous face. "You stink more than me!"

"No, you stink!"

"No, you!"

"You!"

"You!"

"YOU!"

"YOU!"

"YOOOOOOOUUUU!"

"WELL THEN!" Jecht shouted suddenly, shocking Yuna into silence. "I guess we'll just have to prove it to each other then, eh? We'll see who can smell the prettiest by dinner time!"

Yuna stared at him for a full beat, then hopped out of her father's arms, and pointed a dramatic finger at him. "I'll smell way better than you, so nah!"

With that, she stuck her tongue out at him and scampered off, leaving a very bewildered Braska, a disapproving Auron, and a thoroughly please Jecht in her wake. Jecht got to his feet, grabbing Braska's headwear as he did so, and handed it to the openly staring summoner. Jecht only grinned all the wider, and sauntered off, clapping Auron soundly on the shoulder as he did so.

"Well boys, I'm off to make myself presentable for the lady! See ya later!"

There were a few moments of silence.

"…I really, really hate that man."

"…I don't know," Braska said with a slowly emerging smile, glance askance at Auron. "I rather like him. It would be nice to spend more time with him, don't you think?"

Auron gave him a nasty look.

"Well, if he comes out smelling pretty, I don't know why you should complain."

And Auron groaned aloud.

…Fin…

Gotta love those family moments. Also, the moral of the story would be: ladies like a man who smells nice. Boys, take note!

Rem-chan, 24th of December, 2005