Summary: Spoilers for Crystal Bearers. Layle reflects in one particular debt he left behind regarding a pending dance and a redhead. Oneshot.
Disclaimer: Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers is property of Square Enix.
Layle saw his chance when a man came walking across the hall he was monitoring. He sported a classy suit, perhaps one size too big, but certainly much better than any of those clothes worn by the lilties. It took just a moment—and one raised hand, without touching—for him to rip them and knock the guy senseless.
Yeah, for a normal person, sneaking into the lilty Palace was crazy. Perhaps detrimental, but last time he looked into the mirror, he wasn't normal at all. He grew accustomed to his own reputation as a Crystal Bearer, and perhaps that made Layle think of him with little mortality. He usually came unscathed from various things, including an almost-death experience with an Airship and falling from a ten-foot tall cliff; however, his ego always came much, much bigger than before.
Now, there he was, in a fancy suit inside the lilty Palace and about to enter the ball room. Just as he fixed his tie, he managed to look relaxed as usual and with just one goal in mind: he was going to have the Princess give him that Crystal Idol, be it willingly or by force. He didn't care either way.
He didn't recognize Althea for various reasons, besides the fact that she actually looked like a princess. She spoke ironically about tribal unity, so Layle knew he could pry her about it when asking nicely for the Crystal Idol.
Last time he asked a lady for a Crystal Idol he got two slaps to the face and his cheek still hurt. A lot.
Layle finally heard music filling the room and quickly made a mental note to stay away from those old lilty nobles while dancing—they looked to be stomping on purpose to their partners and it didn't feel right to use his magic on the grannies. To make his way over to Althea, he had to force himself to dance with three other noblewomen.
"My, what a beauty," he said smoothly to the tall, curvaceous lilty woman. She smiled back, letting Layle lead her into the dance.
Several minutes later, he swiftly stepped away from said lady, maybe avoiding another slap while she muttered under her breath something along the lines of: hmph, commoners.
His next partner wasn't so picky and everything went fairly smoothly, despite the fact that he felt clearly violated by her gaze. Moving on.
He was so close to Princess Althea now, but her face was obscured with a version of what she would like in probably a thousand years. Layle sighed inwardly and kindly held his hand out to the old noblewoman from before.
The room was filled with a happy, folk tune instead of the rather romantic last pieces, and our Crystal Bearer couldn't be happier. He safely kept his feet out of the noblewoman distance while dancing in front of her, just in case.
That was before finally setting his eyes on the lilty Princess. Althea seemed to recognize him, but he quickly blended into the crowd. Layle was distracted as he looked over the royal balcony, spotting a slender figure against the huge door frame. The woman looked startled and turned around, making a run across the balcony. He followed, perhaps a little bit more agitated than he should have, but when he finally reached the balcony, he caught a last glimpse of the mysterious woman jumping off the fence. A small smile crept up to the young man's lips, raising his right hand and leaning with the other on the edge of the terrace.
"Ugh, you!" a familiar voice cursed while being brought up from the fall. She fought Layle's grip until she was put down next to him. "Crystal Bearer, when will you learn?"
Belle straightened her clothes and furrowed her brows at Layle's teasing glare. Her brown eyes darted to the big doors of the balcony, now subtly closed thanks to his magic.
"What are you doing here? I thought you were a wanted criminal, Belle."
"So did I. Remember we're both on the same boat?" She crossed her arms over her chest, eyeing him from head to toe. Belle felt very foreign standing next to this formal Layle. "What's with the get up? Don't tell me that you're here to pick up girls, Layle! That's so— "
"I did pick a few," he joked, shrugging, "...but that's none of your business, is it?"
"No, of course not. I didn't come here thinking I would dance with those onion heads. Unlike someone I know." Belle scoffed, feeling somewhat offended.
"But there are also selkies in here..." he reflected, and she raised another eyebrow with disbelief.
"C'mon, Crystal Bearer. Selkies look like clowns wearing formal gowns!" she raised her arms in the air, before placing them back on her hips.
"I'll keep that in mind when I see you, Ms. Selkie, in an evening suit." Layle smirked.
"Oh, you didn't—" Belle leaned forward, talking in a mouthful of air. She would probably spit up fire if she was a dragon... and thank god she wasn't.
"What about Clavats, hm?" He said softly, taking a step closer to her. Belle crossed her hands again.
"Sorry, haven't met one that's worth my time." She said mischievously, shaking her head, "In my opinion, they all seem to be jerks."
He couldn't help but smile a little, stretching out his hand in an offering. Belle looked down with a confused expression.
"May I have this dance?" he asked gently.
"I said I didn't like Clavats," she replied flatly, her eyes fixed on his hand.
"Sure, but I'm a Crystal Bearer, remember? I'm sure I can be the exception." Layle gave her another confident smile.
"Very funny. Now it's not the time! Get back to work, it looks like Jegran might come in any minute, so be quick with the Princess." Belle warned, looking around in case they were being heard. He sighed and scratched the back of his head, finally nodding.
Belle turned around to jump again, but as soon as Layle did the same, she spoke.
"You owe me, Layle." She finally said with a sincere smile.
"A dance, you idiot!" Belle yelled seconds before throwing herself into the darkness. The blonde smiled afterwards and quietly stepped back in into the ballroom.
Layle kept his eyes fixed on the ocean before him. His thoughts were overwhelming his mind as a he inexplicably kept his powers, raising more questions than he could answer. He thought it was for the best that he kept away from everyone, at least for a while. Either way he had some debts that had to be put on hold for a while, but he was sure that Belle could learn to wait for a change.
Little did he know that said selkie was already looking for him all around the globe. Handling it solo, as she usually said.
Author's Notes: I finally finished this game! I loooved it so I had to write a short story. This is placed when you sneak into the lilty Palace, obviously I thought it would have been fitting to also met with Belle before dancing with Althea! I mean, everyone deserves to catch a glimpse of tux!layle goodness. I hope you all enjoyed it and leave reviews if you have any comments, critiques, questions and the like.
EDIT: Hello guys! I changed formatting a bit so the last part isn't that confusing, sorry!