Time Frame: After the battle with Biwig.

Personal Interaction Level Between Sophia and Albel: Meeting for the first time.

This chapter's an extreme one…AU style with Albel and Sophia's roles completely reversed. She's from Airyglyph (still a 'mage' but not a captain) and he's Fayt's childhood friend (who would go to the simulators constantly with Fayt). Personalities have been altered to fit their new roles.

Inspiration for this chapter goes to Lucere for the lovely AU 'Crisscross Crisis' – which I can't review since Blue blocked me out of it…more joys to sharing a computer. Anyway, it gave the urge to write something with Albel and Sophia's roles reversed.

He huffed again, blowing his hair in a futile attempt to entertain himself. Of all the things to do, babysitting was not one he was fond of. Not that it involved much attention. The girl was still unconscious.

If not for the Vendeeni, he might have been able to escape to Elicoor with Fayt. At least he would be able to hone his fighting skills. Fayt wasn't the only one who could wield a sword. But no! He was a prisoner while little Fayt was given free rein to gain enough experience to make him look like a novice.

He was older than Fayt and had practically taught the boy everything he knew about fighting. But now…now that little prick had passed him on a skill level. Albel knew he would rectify that as soon as he was allowed off the Diplo. He would not lose at this friendly competition they had going.

Her soft moans broke his trance. Looking up, he saw her sit up. Her green eyes made a quick scan of the room before setting on him. He was, after all, the only other person there.

"Where am I?" she demanded harshly. Her voice was sooth and even. To him it was musical even if she was clearly unhappy.

"Aboard the Diplo," he replied, just as harshly. "Fayt insisted we bring you here for treatment."

Lines creased her forehead. "Humph. So I'm to assume I'm on a space craft? And my staff? Where is it?"

Boy was she demanding. And young. How did someone so much younger than him become so ridged? Fayt hadn't told him more than that she was an ally. The man, Cliff, hinted that there was more to the story but not much else.

He smirked at her. "Perhaps you hail from a planet of fools, but we do not. Your weapon, if you choose to call such a thing as that a weapon, is right there on the table beside you."

Throwing a frown at him, she quickly lifted her staff and exited the bed. Before she could respond to his taunt, she had noticed her new apparel.

"WHAT?! Who?"

He chuckled, despite himself. "Not to worry, the woman named Mirage took the liberty of changing your clothing. Your…uniform was soiled and she thought that color would bring out your eyes."

"This color!" she exclaimed as she picked at the pink vest. "It'll do nothing but make me an easier target. There is no way to camouflage pink and purple."

He stood, indicating his own purple tank top and matching pants. "And you are weak then. If you only hide from your enemies it makes you a coward."

She stiffened her glare on him. "I am no coward. Only a fool makes themselves so easy to spot. The element of surprise serves one well on the battle field."

"Battle field, huh. So the little girl is a soldier?"

She puffed out her cheeks. "More so than you, I think. Tell me, how many wars have you fought?"

He arrogantly dismissed her with a sway of his hand. "Wars are for the barbaric. Where I am from we fight for entertainment and we do so against opponents that aren't real."

She shook her head; chastising him. "Fighting opponents that aren't real does nothing to prove yourself. We are not barbaric! We fight for a cause which is more than I can say for you."

"Bah, whatever. You only wish to justify your actions. You take comfort thinking you have no choice but to take lives. I haven't yet to take a life and you call that foolish?"

"In war, its kill or be killed. That is something your friend has discovered but I wonder if you will be so lucky as to live long enough to learn for yourself."

Anger plastered itself in a bright red hue across his face. "Fayt? I can take him any day!"

She smiled. "Ah, so you do feel compelled to prove yourself better. You surprise me, foolish man."

"I have a name," he snapped back.

"As do I," she responded with lightning quickness.

He smiled, determined to gain the upper hand. "And it is Sophia."

To his dismay she didn't show any signs of surprise. "And you are Albel."

So, Fayt had mentioned him. He really couldn't wait until Fayt was able to update him on what had transpired while he was a prisoner of the Vendeeni. He simply had to find out more about this creature he had just encountered.

She was more than apt to counter him at every move. He would have to change his tactic. Reaching into his pouch, he produced the candy bar he had managed to hold on to throughout his stay with the Vendeeni. Perhaps something sweet would be just the key he needed to throw a bit of kindle on the fire.

He tossed the chocolate at her, which she deftly caught. "Eat that."

And then he left, ending the argument before a victor was announced.

For a long minute, she examined the item. The paper wrapped around it sported letting she could not read. After removing the covering, she found a soft brown substance that looked far from appetizing. One quick smell dispelled her previous assumption. It smelled delicious.

Without thought she took a bite. Though there were sweets of high quality in Airyglyph, none tasted quite like this. This was perhaps the most delicious thing she had ever tasted.

The food was quickly consumed and she resorted to licking any evidence from her fingers. He may have won this argument, but there would be more – she knew it. And if all arguments with him ended like this, they were well worth it.