Author's Note: This is my first attempt at a humor fic, so please be kind in your reviews! Thanks to LuckyLadybug for encouragement! Disclaimer: I don't own these characters.
"Hey, Wakka!" said Tidus. "You wanna help me find some fruit we can sell? I'll split the profits with you!"
"Sounds lucrative," Wakka replied. "But I promised Selphie I'd play a game of checkers with her. But it shouldn't take too long--"
"Oh, really?" Selphie asked, overhearing him. "I can hold my own; just you wait and see!"
"I'll meet you in five minutes…" Wakka said, out of the corner of his mouth.
Tidus grinned as Wakka and Selphie started their game.
"Ladies first, Selphie."
"Now what can I do in the next five minutes?" Tidus thought, as Selphie stared intently at the board. "There's no point in watching Selphie lose again… and waiting's too boring…"
He thought about recruiting Sora, Riku, and Kairi along for the fruit expedition, but decided against it; it wouldn't be as profitable to split their earnings five ways. And they weren't acting quite the same ever since their return to Destiny Islands. Kairi had been the first to come back, but she hadn't said a word about what had happened to the other two. And she still wouldn't mention about the red-haired guy that Tidus had caught a glimpse of. Riku seemed more aloof than before, and Tidus hadn't even bothered trying to get information out of him. And Sora's mind seemed to be wandering more than usual, but he never mentioned about his travels, even when asked. Given the situation, the trio would probably turn down his offer of fruit-picking, anyway, so why bother?
But Tidus did get an idea; he had stumbled upon Sora's secret cave once, before the night that the trio had disappeared. He hadn't snooped around since, but he decided that he could spend the next five minutes seeing what else Sora had stashed away in there. Or perhaps he could spend more than five minutes; Selphie hadn't even made her first move yet.
Tidus was amazed at all of the new loot that had been stored in the cave; these must be souvenirs of wherever Sora had gone! He looked through some of the items: a receipt from a restaurant in a place called "Traverse Town"… a couple of empty glass bottles… a strange, old-looking brass oil lamp….
Tidus picked up the old lamp, intrigued.
"Who uses these anymore?" he thought. "Sora, get with the times!"
He brushed some of the dust off of the old lamp, and the next thing he knew, he was bowled over by something large and blue.
"OK, Sora!" a voice boomed. "Where's the Heartless? Where's the Nobody? Just say the word, and…"
The strange being glanced at Tidus.
"…You're not Sora…"
"Yeah, that's right…" he replied. "You know Sora?"
"Do I know Sora!?" the being repeated, trying (and failing) to hide his laughter. "Oh, that's a good one! See, here's how it works… I'm a friend of a guy named Al. Sora is a friend of Al's. And any friend of Al is a friend of mine!"
"I'm a friend of Sora's…" Tidus said, quickly, making sure he wanted to get on the creature's good side.
"Well, then!" he exclaimed. "A friend of a friend of Al's is also a friend of mine! Genie's the name, Kid!"
"I… I'm Tidus…"
"Well, Tide, I hate to say this, but since I'm a free genie at the moment, I'm not bound to the whole 'three wishes' bit. However, I'm always wiling to help out a friend of a friend of Al's."
"Uh, yeah…" said Tidus. "Listen… can you wait here for just a sec? I'll be right back."
Without waiting for an answer, Tidus ran out of the cave.
"It's your move, Selphie," said Wakka. "You're really over-thinking this; why don't you just--?"
"Hey, Tidus," they said, in unison, not taking their eyes off of the game.
"Guys, you'll never guess what I found!"
"Tidus, were you snooping around the hideaway again?" asked Selphie, with a roll of her eyes.
"Never mind," Tidus replied. "But I found this old oil lamp, and guess what happened?"
"It still works?" asked Wakka.
"I summoned a real genie!"
Wakka glanced at him, eyebrows arched. Selphie seized the opportunity to swap the position of one of her checkers with one of Wakka's.
"You know, Tidus, too much sun is a bad thing."
"But it's true!"
"So what'll your three wishes be?" asked Selphie.
"Well, he says he's free, so he may not grant three wishes, but--"
"Tidus, maybe you should skip the fruit-picking today and go home and rest," said Wakka, with a shake of his head.
"OK, fine," he said. "But don't ask me to ask him for any favors!"
Tidus ran back to the cave as Wakka turned his attention back to the game.
"Did you move yet?" he asked.
"Nope," she replied, moving her swapped piece. "King me!"
Wakka stared blankly at the board, trying to figure out where exactly he had gone wrong.
"Hey…" said Genie, hovering over Tidus. "I never like seeing friend of friends of friends unhappy."
"Wakka and Selphie didn't believe me when I told them about you," he replied, glumly. "Wakka thinks I'm crazy… but I bet if he actually saw you and your magic, he would…"
Tidus trailed off with a smirk.
"Hold that thought, Tide! I know exactly where you're going with it!" exclaimed Genie, rolling up his nonexistent sleeves and cracking his massive knuckles. "How about a little proof to make a believer out of him?"
"You could do that?" asked Tidus.
"Sora apparently hasn't told you about me, has he…?"
"No…" Tidus said. "All that he said was that he, Riku, and Kairi were trying to build a raft, and something came up and they ended up someplace else."
"He never told me he wanted a raft…" said Genie. "Ah, well… better late than never!"
Sparks of magic emerged from his fingertips, and a small boat appeared in the cave.
"Whoa!" exclaimed Tidus. "How did you do that!?"
"Well, you just hold your arms out, and… actually, it's a lot more difficult to explain, if you can believe it…"
"I'm about ready to believe that the moon is made out of green cheese…"
"Oh, it isn't?" Genie asked. A memo pad and pencil materialized in his hand. "Let's see here… 'Cancel trip to moon… go to marketplace instead…' …Thanks, Tide; you saved me a wasted trip!"
"Anytime…" he replied, bewildered.
"Looks like I win, Wakka!" Selphie exclaimed. "Good game!"
"How… how did…?" he stammered, still staring at the board. He scratched his head, unable to comprehend it.
"Wanna play again?" she asked.
Wakka reached for the checkers, but to his amazement, they started floating in midair.
"Wakka, what did you do!?" asked Selphie, wide-eyed.
"I don't know…!"
He reached for the floating checkers, but they hovered tantalizingly just out of his reach, jumping up whenever he tried to leap for them.
A few yards away, Tidus was struggling not to laugh.
"Aw, this is great!" he whispered.
"Levitation is easy; any genie kid could pull this off," Genie replied.
"Hey, that just gave me another idea!"
Meanwhile, the checkers finally started obeying gravity again. Wakka approached them hesitantly, as though worried that he might start floating if he touched them.
"Hey, guys!" said Tidus.
"Hey, Tidus--" Selphie began, but she paused upon seeing him carry a large mound of fruit effortlessly.
Wakka's jaw dropped.
"Where did you find all of that!? How can you carry all of that!?" he asked, his eyes widening.
"Oh, it's a lot easier now," said Tidus, effortlessly transferring the pile of fruit to one hand. He pulled out a large moneybag. "Now that I've sold half it, there's less to carry."
The expressions on the faces of Selphie and Wakka were priceless.
"Well, I'm not sure what I'm going to do with all of this leftover fruit, so I was wondering if you guys would like to sell some of your own," said Tidus.
Selphie and Wakka exchanged glances with each other.
"No? That's OK; I have help…"
As if things couldn't get even stranger, another Tidus walked over to them, carrying another large pile of fruit.
"You have a twin!?" Wakka blurted out.
Wakka and Selphie weren't the only ones who saw the Tidus clone; Kairi was walking by when she noticed Tidus and the clone. She stared at the scene for a moment, and ran off.
"Alright, I think we've kept them going long enough," said the real Tidus, with a wink. "Guys, meet Genie!"
The Tidus clone transformed before their eyes into the genie's true form.
"Hey!" he greeted them. "Any friend of a friend of a friend of Al's is a friend of mine!" He paused, counting on his fingers to make sure he had the right amount of "friends" in there. "…I think…"
While Wakka and Selphie were getting better acquainted with Genie, Kairi found Riku.
"Riku!" she exclaimed. "It's Tidus! He--"
"What's wrong!?" asked Riku, snapping to attention; he wasn't the most optimistic person around, and he had expected that something, whether Heartless, Nobody, or something else, would arrive on the Islands and require his and Sora's attention.
"Oh, it's nothing like that… I think," she replied. "But there's two of him!"
"Two of Tidus…?" he asked, incredulously. "We're driven half-crazy by one of him; where'd the other one come from?"
"I'll look into it," said Riku. "In the meantime, find Sora and tell him about this right away."
"You don't think he has a Nobody, do you?"
"I hope not… but I don't see how he could; he never had a Heartless, unless something had happened while we were away. We need to check this out."
They went off in different directions.
"Sora!" called Kairi. "Sora!"
"What?" the boy asked, with a yawn, as he reclined in a hammock.
"Were you sleeping again? Oh, never mind; listen… Something's up with Tidus; I just saw two of him!"
Sora fell out of the hammock.
"I don't know what it is, but Riku is on his way there right now," she said. "Come on."
"Hey, Riku!" asked Sora, who was surveying the scene. "What happened--?"
"What made it a good idea to leave your lamp lying around!?" asked Riku, rounding on him.
"My lamp?" asked Sora.
Riku pointed wordlessly to the clearing, where an assortment of riches, fruit, desserts, and other objects were strewn about as Genie was showing off a plethora of magic tricks to Tidus, Wakka, and Selphie.
"Oh, no…" moaned Sora, slapping his forehead, and he headed into the clearing, flanked by Riku and Kairi. "Genie!"
"Sora!" Genie exclaimed. "Hey, you're just in time to join the party! Oh, and I got you that boat you wanted! …Or was it a raft? But a boat's better; you've got better control over it…" He trailed off at the look on Sora's face. "Ooooh, this wasn't supposed to happen, was it?
"Not really…" Sora replied.
"Sora, why didn't you tell us about him?" asked Tidus.
"Now that he's here, you've got to tell us what else happened!" said Selphie.
"And you're not getting out of it this time," said Wakka.
"Well, I just remembered I have… chores to do!" said Kairi, backing away. "I'll rejoin the 'party' in a little while."
She left, and Sora turned to Riku.
"You're on your own, Sora," he replied, looking away.
Sora exchanged glances with Genie, who gave him a shrug of his massive arms.
"Looks like you've got a bit of explaining to do…" he observed. "But give them the condensed version so we can get on with the party!"
"I'll second that!" Tidus agreed.
Magic sparked from Genie's fingertips, creating a stage and microphone for Sora and chairs for the others.
"You're on, Sora!" Genie exclaimed.