A/N: My Valentine's fic for 2011. More Luso/Adelle, more fluff. Fluff makes the world go 'round. Ta to Lanxal for beta-ing.
For a final battle, it actually went pretty quickly, Luso thought. It had kind of been a slashy-slashy hacky-hacky thing without really heavy casualties on both sides, until Adelle sacrificed herself to use that Gifted skill that healed everyone else. It almost gave Luso a heart attack when he couldn't find a Phoenix Down in his infinitely large bag and he had to wait for Feria to revive Adelle. Maybe it hadn't been a particularly good idea to hug Adelle on a battlefield (they did get swarmed by monsters, after all) but that didn't matter.
Anyway, Luso decided, that was it. He was going home.
For some funny reason, he wasn't feeling quite as excited about going home as he was a few Ivalician years ago, when he'd arrived in Ivalice and found out what he needed to do to get home. After all, he'd met Hurdy and Adelle and Vaan and Penelo and the other members of the clan. It was really fun, actually. But all good things come to an end and this particular good thing had nothing else to do but end.
Well, maybe except for one thing.
"Hey, Luso," Adelle's quiet but rather harsh still voice (which he'd really started to like hearing now, even though it had been rather annoying before) snapped him out of his daydreaming. "Could I have a word? Just before you leave."
Adelle had been really subdued lately, actually, although Luso couldn't really tell why. If anything, he should have been the one feeling subdued, considering he was going to leave the world and all his friends behind soon. Adelle, on the other hand, got to have his portion of the clan's money, something like 500 000 gil now, although Luso had the feeling she had started using it a long time ago.
"Hey! Luso Clemens, are you even listening to me?"
"Uhm, yeah, of course. Heh, why wouldn't I listen to you?" Luso grinned at his companion. "Now, uhm, what were you saying again?"
Adelle ignored him. Luso could've sworn she murmured something under her breath about him being useless, but it was almost definitely his imagination (because Adelle was definitely not that rude).
"Can we just sit down here?" Adelle motioned at a relatively dry-looking log perfect for a lovely couple to sit on. Of course, that isn't to say that they were a lovely couple. Definitely not. The two sat down and they shifted uncomfortably to leave the smallest gap between them.
There was a short, awkward silence before Adelle ventured an attempt to start the conversation. "So, um, you're leaving, huh?" Her voice was quiet and wavering slightly.
"Yeah, I guess I am," Luso replied. There was another one of those awkward silences. "I'll miss Ivalice, I guess."
Adelle seemed to blush. "What will you be missing in particular?" she asked demurely, not looking at Luso.
"Uh…" Luso stopped talking for a moment and blushed. What was it with this weird questioning and why did it give Luso butterflies? "Well," he began, attempting to not say anything extreme which he might later regret. "I'll miss people wherever I go, really. Heh."
"No, that's not what I meant," Adelle smiled and punched Luso lightly. He pretended to find it intensely painful and overbalanced, falling off the log. Luso quickly found out that the ground was still slightly wet from the recent rainy season."Oops," Adele giggled, trying not to fall over from her own laughter."Sorry."
Luso picked himself up and disdainfully tried to brush the mud from his pants. It didn't work. Adelle sighed. "I meant if you'd mean anything in particular. A person, a place…"
Luso nodded sagely, but tried to act as if he didn't understand. He knew exactly what Adelle was talking about now, but, for a reason even he didn't know, he refused to let himself admit anything first.
"Um, yeah," Luso murmured. "Definitely. I might miss my visits to the Witch of the Fens… She seems harsh but I think she's warming up to me."
"Luso!" Adelle glared at him. "Stop it!" Her face fell and she sighed. "You know what I mean… please."
Luso grinned. He knew, alright, but he sure as hell wasn't going to admit it. "No I don't." He had a feeling Adelle already knew, but he still didn't want to admit it.
Adelle looked at him sadly. "Really, Luso?' she sighed. Luso sighed too. Adelle had been doing a lot of that sighing lately, and he started to feel kinda bad about making her do it. Still, she was pretty cute when she pulled that face...
"Luso... I have to say all this, okay? You can ignore it if you like. Tune out. You're good at that," Adelle began. "I… I really like you, alright? You… well, ever since you came to Ivalice and I joined the guild, I've felt something. At first, I thought it was just me being silly, but… after a bit, I realised. I don't know why it had to be you." Adelle shook her head and smiled sadly. "I really don't know, but it was. I… I really like you a lot."
Luso nodded, his mind whirling. He'd expected something, but not something like this; not something this big. Well, not that it was that big. Although he suddenly felt like he'd gone a little too far in trying to get Adelle to say it.
Adelle closed her eyes. Tears welled up in them, but she seemed to force them back. "Now I've said all that… I should go. Just, I don't know, keep that in mind, okay?" Her voice quivered and she sounded like she was about to cry. "I can kinda tell when I'm not wanted."
Luso should have stopped earlier. He should have stopped when she'd started looking annoyed. No, he should've stopped before then… He probably shouldn't have even tried to draw it out of her. Maybe he should have said it first. Whatever should have happened, it wasn't this.
Luso ran after her and grabbed her arm. Adelle turned, tears in her eyes. "What do you want? Haven't I spilled my heart enough?"
"I…" Luso faltered. What was he going to say? How would he apologise for what he'd just done? "I'm sorry! I didn't… I didn't know you actually… Um, I might have been messing with you a bit there. Just a bit."
Adelle glared with such intensity Luso thought lasers would shoot out and blow his eyes up or something. "You… you were tricking me?" she screeched, pushing Luso away. "You toyed with me and made me spill my feelings to you… as a joke!"
"No, Adelle, I-"
She turned away and stalked away. Luso could only describe it as stalking; it was kind of stomping, but elegantly. There wasn't anyone in the world but Adelle who could pull off 'elegant stomping'. He shook his head. Snap out of it, Luso. No getting off-task. He followed her and pulled her shoulder. She spun around and he clasped them tightly.
"Adelle, I… I'm really sorry for before, I mean it. I…" Luso's voice faded and he took a deep breath. "I- I kind of… How do I put this? I… love you. So, um… yeah."
He wrapped his arms around Adelle and hugged her tightly. She smiled. "I know. I mean, who wouldn't love someone like me?"
"Yep, I know, I'm… Wait a minute…" Luso's face contorted into a shocked expression of horrified realisation. "What!"
He pulled away from Adelle who was grinning. Still gaping in horror, he stuttered. "W-What? You mean you… you… eh? What!"
Adelle didn't stop grinning. "You know, you're pretty cute when you look shocked…"
"Don't change the subject!"
"Well, I… might have slightly messed with you there. Just a bit," Adelle mimicked and Luso groaned. She'd known all along that he'd been messing with her, whereas he'd fallen right for the oldest trick in the book.
"Adelle, I really hate you sometimes," he groaned, shaking his head.
Adelle wrapped her arms around Luso and pressed her face up near his."But the rest of the time, you love me, right?" she purred. Luso groaned and made a retching noise, causing Adelle to giggle. "Come on, bonehead." She slid her hand into his and smiled.
Luso gave a sigh as the two started walking again. Life sure liked annoying him… but he could get used to it.
Lezaford sighed and sat down. He'd readied the circle… now he just had to wait for Luso and Adelle. This might take a while. "What do you suppose they're doing?" he asked Cid, who just laughed.
"They're gettin' up to some no good mischief, I'll put money on it."
Lezaford nodded. "I suppose they might be cherishing the last time they'd be having together?"
"More like spending the last gil they'll be able to together!" Cid laughed again. Lezaford nodded and decided to take a sudden interest in the clearing around him. Even though Cid and he were supposed to be of the same race, they couldn't be further apart. While the loud, extroverted Cid preferred the heavy weapons and physical thumping of the Bangaa warriors, Lezaford himself much preferred the magick of the Nu Mou scholars.
"Hey, guys, sorry for being late!" The sound of Luso's voice resonated through the forest and scattered birds. He ran into the clearing with Adelle in tow. He stopped and panted as Adelle did the same.
"What in the gods have ye been up to all that time?" Cid asked, standing up. Seeing their bright red faces, he decided quickly that he didn't actually want to know. "Erm, that is to say, ye ready to go now, Luso?"
Luso nodded. "I guess so." He sighed and walked into the teleportation circle, pullin out his grimoire. "Alright," he said slowly. "Looks like I'll be going then, guys."
"G'bye then," Cid said gruffly.
"Kupopo…" Hurdy sighed.
"I'll miss all of you guys," Luso continued, realising that his eyes were starting to cloud up. "Staying here was really fun and going back to boring life at home will be kinda lame again but I'll be alright. You guys'll be fine without my great leading of the guild; you're not that bad, Cid." He paused to wipe a tear from his eye and turned to Adelle.
"I'm… I'm not saying goodbye!" Adelle stuttered, turning away. Luso could see tears in her eyes and could feel some of his own welling up.
"Okay, I understand," Luso said, nodding. "I'll live without your saying goodbye. I dunno whether you'll be able to live though." He laughed. It was an awkward laugh and he really wondered why he'd said it. It wasn't even really that true. He sighed. He would really miss Adelle.
He thought for a moment as he flicked through the pages of the grimoire. His adventure was all there. How he'd landed in Ivalice and joined Cid's clan, how he'd done some simple quests and met Adelle and Lezaford and Hurdy and everyone else. How together, they'd defeated the epic forces of Khamja and Duelhorn and become Master Adventurers and Champions of Jylland. It was funny, he thought, as he read about his adventures, they sounded quite different in the book to how he remembered them. More epic, in a way.
Hurdy and Cid and Frimelda and Lezaford and Vaan and Penelo and all the other clan members… they'd all been great friends. They'd fought together, and Luso knew they'd keep on fighting without him. He sighed as his mind wandered, as it always did for some reason, to Adelle.
He'd said he'd loved Adelle before but… did he? Adelle… well, what did he think of Adelle? He did like her very much, although… what would happen if he were to lose her? If they were to part forever? Luso shuddered at the thought and a chill went down his spine. Better not to think about it, actually. What right did love have to his mind, anyway? Now he'd be thinking about this all day and his aunt would definitely think something had happened. Speaking of which, Luso thought, what was love, anyway? Nobody'd ever told him.
"Luso, are you going to do anything?"
"Huh? What?" Luso snapped away from his daydreaming. "Oh, right, uhm, yeah." He paused. Maybe he could… maybe it would work… Well, there wasn't a better time to ask than the present. "Actually, Lezaford, can I ask you something?"
"Ask away, Luso," The great wizard smiled and Luso had a strange feeling he knew what he was about to ask. The same knowleding smile was plastered on the face of just about everyone else there. Was he really that predictable?
He sighed. "Uh… would it be possible to... uh… how do I put this… stay here a bit longer? I mean… to not use the grimoire to go home right away. To, um, delay the grimoire."
"I don't see why not," Lezaford said, with that twinkle that was always in his eye. "After all, the grimoire has been completed, and it is your choice to leave with the power in it. Do be careful it doesn't do anything wild but, besides that, it should be perfectly safe."
Luso grinned and snapped the grimoire shut. "That's that then," he said. "I'm not going home for a while. Unfinished business, y'know?" He winked at Lezaford, who looked to Cid. The two shook their heads knowledgeably.
Adelle cheeks were a deep crimson and her eyes were wet with tears (of happiness, Luso was sure) when he turned to her. He grinned as she squashed the life out of him with her vice-like grip of a hug. Still gasping for air, he ruffled her hair, much to her annoyance. "C'mon, let's go do something," Luso said, the silly grin refusing to leave his face. "After all, we've only got all of eternity." Adelle giggled and the two walked away blushing, but hand-in-hand.
"Kupopo…romantic," Hurdy mused. "This makes me think of a song, kupo!"
Cid laughed; a deep, rumbling laugh. "Makes ye feel alive, eh?" He slapped the moogle on the back, almost knocking him over. "Good luck with that song!"
"Sure will, kupo!" said Hurdy, humming to himself.
"Lezaford!" Cid bellowed, turning to the wizard. "That thing I was askin' about earlier?" Lezaford nodded resignedly and the three headed towards the nearest village. It was some time before Cid's loud, booming voice faded from the clearing.
The breeze blew over the grimoire, which flicked to the last page. The back cover glowed and an old, yellowed page was plucked from the everpresent Mist, appearing with a bright flash. As the Mistical energy faded from the page and it solidified, the book continued to write.