The residents of Radiant Garden had long since become accustomed to the sight and presence of the Gullwings, so when three male fairies suddenly made an appearance, nobody took much notice. At least not at first. It was only after Cid made an offhand comment about their fascination with Tron that the other members of the Restoration Committee took an interest.
At their worst, the Gullwings were minor nuisances with a knack for spontaneously popping in and out of tight situations in their search for treasure. They were harmless, even amusing, so their antics were tolerated; but Leon had put his foot down with respect to Tron and the defense system. The computer and its environs were off-limits when it came to exploring or treasure hunting, and the Gullwings had agreed. (Which, Aerith joked, was the only reason Leon could sleep at night, rather than forcing himself to keep vigil at the main terminal, 'just in case'.)
So the fact that these male fairies were interested in Tron made Leon distinctly nervous, despite Cid's claims that they were cut of less frivolous cloth than the Gullwings.
They certainly had a more serious appearance, with only one of their number not bearing obvious battle scars. The tallest – if height was a proper term to apply to a being that floated – sported prosthetic limbs on his left side: arm, leg, and even his wing were all amazingly detailed and functioning machines. Cid's interest in those tiny mechanicals was what had first prompted him to pay attention to their owner's movements, and – later – strike up a conversation. His surprise had only grown to learn they were the work of one of the other fairies, the one who sported a leather patch over his right eye. Both individuals had apparently had separate run-ins with the heartless.
Unlike their female counterparts, the men weren't reticent about giving their names. The tall one was Nooj, the mechanic was Gippal, and the 'pretty boy' (as Cid described him) was Baralai. Gippal had let it slip that both he and Rikku – the blond female fairy – were Al-Bhed. Like her bizarre scarf-wings, Gippal's seemed to be part and parcel of his clothing. They were red and black striped, leathery, and settled around his shoulders like a short cloak on the rare occasions when he was absolutely still. Nooj's one remaining flesh-and-blood wing was leathery and bat-like, his prosthetic made on the same mold, while Baralai sported angel wings that were a match in color for his hair, and only furthered the impression of male beauty – which garnered a fair amount of good-natured teasing from Gippal.
All three were information hounds, although their specific interests varied somewhat. Gippal's thoughts were preoccupied with gummi ships, item synthesis, and the inner workings of Cid's computer. Baralai was more interested in the tomes scattered about in Merlin's home.
And Nooj was obsessed with the idea of talking to Tron.
"We're treasure hunters," he explained to Leon, after Cid was persuaded to make the introductions, "and knowledge is the best kind of treasure there is. Facts don't tarnish or lose their value."
"Don't let it worry you, Dark-and-Broody," Gippal chimed in, "the Nooj-meister isn't going to damage or steal your machina, he just wants to bore it with a million history questions." The tiny smart-mouth stretched, and positioned himself more comfortably against the screwdriver he was using as a back brace. "It's just another mission for the Crimson Fairies."
Nooj studiously ignored his companion, keeping his gaze solemn and level with Leon. It was Baralai who gently tapped Gippal in the leg with his foot. "Crimson Squad, remember? He gets all stern-faced and depressed when you call us the Crimson Fairies."
Unfazed, Gippal folded his arms behind his head and closed his eyes. "We are fairies. Might as well call a spade a spade. Besides, Nooj is stern-faced and depressed all the time, and calling us a squad implies we're organized."
"True." The white-blond fairy carefully adjusted his pristine sleeves, his neatness an even greater contrast to Gippal's dishevelment when neither was moving. "I've yet to see you organize anything."
"I know where my tools are, that's organized enough," was the lazy reply.
Leon's gaze had shifted from cautious to vaguely sympathetic. "Just you?" he asked, gesturing with a thumb at Gippal and Baralai. "We can leave them here?"
"Absolutely. It would be preferable, even."
Gippal clutched a hand to his chest in theatrical dismay. "We're not wanted, Baralai."
"You are not wanted," Nooj corrected him, "Baralai just doesn't like computers."
"I'm warming up to the coffee machine," said individual returned placidly, "I like to take one thing at a time."
Something about their banter reminded Leon of Yuffie. Maybe it was the headache slowly forming behind his eyes. "Alright, come on," he told Nooj, "I'll take you to see Tron, and we'll set up some protocols for you. But the first time you cause any trouble–"
"I'll let you take it out on Gippal," Nooj's offer was so calmly made it took a moment to register. When it did, the screwdriver clattered against Cid's workbench as Gippal shot abruptly into the air, loudly protesting. Nooj ignored him, while Baralai burst out laughing, and even the corner of Leon's mouth twitched slightly.