Bartz and Zidane sweatdropped as they walked in on the two gunblade wielders- both of whom were staring intensely at each other.
Zidane was about to open his mouth- after all, the two looked about ready to murder each other- only to pause when he noticed their third companion's, Vaan's, raised hand. The sandy-haired sky pirate patted the spot beside him as he continued munching on an apple with his other hand.
Approaching the other blond, Zidane plopped down on the flat rock while Bartz approached the cliff's edge.
"What's up with those two?" The genome asked questioningly.
"No clue." Vaan mumbled between bites before clearing his throat. "Y'know how we were supposed to catch five Chocobos, right?"
Zidane nodded, trying to piece together how the Chocobo's and the glaring match were connected. "Yeah. I mean, it's your turn to herd us our rides while we gathered supplies."
Vaan smiled and was about to continue when Bartz spoke. "Hey guys…am I the only one seeing a giant white chocobo?"
Zidane immediately ran over to the mimic's side, eyes widening as he saw the large bird prance around the perimeter. "Woah! Beyond cool!" The genome shouted with glee. "Think we can ride that thing?"
"That thing's called a Trickster." Vaan offered. "And well, let's just say it isn't the most pleasant of chocobos to ride on. Not to mention it's very protective of its kind."
The blond genome threw him a questioning look. "I still don't see how that and them are related."
"And I do?" Vaan shot him a puzzled look.
The three snapped to the two gunbladers when they heard a grunt. Squall shot them all a glare before leaping into the clearing below, a very triumphant-looking Lightning left in his wake.
The aforementioned woman turned to them, ignoring the battle cry from down below. "Well? It's time to get moving."
Vaan leapt up from his seat and stretched before he jumped after Lightning, running along the sides of the bottom of the gorge while grinning like a madman.
The two remaining warriors eyed each other before turning their attention back to the three warriors below them.
Bartz's gaze, however, was more focused on Squall. "Is …he running away from that Chocobo?"
"I think he's advancing towards future victories." Zidane shrugged, still puzzled by the previous occurrence. "I still don't know what that was about."
The genome did snicker when the white Chocobo started dropping comets on the brunet.
"They're at it again!" Zidane suddenly burst in, shouting at the top of his lungs.
Laguna immediately stood up, bringing his machine gun with him. "Where? And how many? Quick, we have to act fast!"
"Laguna? I think he means Squall and Light." Bartz spoke from his seat around the fire. "And get back here; you're not getting away that easy."
The raven-haired man protested weakly. "But- but it could be the munchkins again!"
"Sit down, Laguna." Tidus grinned evilly from behind his cards. "And pay up!"
Laguna made a final attempt as he lunged for his cards, intent on scrambling them. Unluckily, the person sitting closest to him was Vaan. The sky pirate quickly reacted- saving Laguna's losing hand.
The gun-toting man crumpled as he mourned pitifully while the rest of the players distributed the winnings. "That's harsh…."
"Hello? Guys?" Zidane waved, trying to get their attention. "Am I the only one worried about how Light and Squall are acting so hostile with each other?"
"Now, now, they can't be that bad." Laguna tried to placate the genome, already over his loss. He glanced behind the blond, seeing both the gunbladers glaring hard at each other while the ever-eager Luneth was at their side, eyeing the two worriedly. Laguna smiled and nodded sagely. "See! They're just staring! No harm in staring!"
"Staring? They look like they're about to cross blades!" Zidane shouted.
Tidus turned to the source of Zidane's worry and frowned. "I'd have to agree with Zidane on this one." Laguna shot him a puzzled look. "See, I'm used to rivalries- both friendly and bitter. It comes with being a super star." Tidus elaborated. "That? That's a classic case of bitter rivalry right there!"
"Thank you!" the genome agreed, happy that someone was listening to him. "What do we do?"
"Luneth's there already to placate them?" Bartz stated unsurely though it came out as a question.
"That started because of him." Zidane sighed exasperatedly. "One minute, Luneth's asking to spar with one of them and the next, BAM! Gunblader's War Zone." The genome mumbled something about moody gunbladers. "They haven't said a word; they just suddenly started glaring!"
"Ah!" Laguna suddenly shouted. The rest of the warriors followed his gaze, noticing Squall walking away from the confrontation. Lightning looked smug as she folded her arms, eyes glimmering with triumph.
"Come on." Squall grumbled at the puzzled Luneth who, realizing what Squall meant, threw one last worried glance at Lightning before following.
"Wow…" Laguna said, awestruck, before firing a smirk at Zidane. "Hey, that didn't end too badly; they've both got all their limbs attached!"
Bartz smirked also. "And here I thought we had an emergency."
Zidane's face flushed. "Well!" he huffed before folding his arms, not knowing what else to say.
"Uh, guys?" Tidus called their attention. The blitzball star pointed at the sparring duo.
Everyone gave a collective wince as the Onion Knight hit the ground.
"Shouldn't we help him?"
In the background, an unnoticed Vaan was pocketing the unattended kupos littering the ground.
The crazed clown-mage rubbed his chin with one hand and his scalp with his other as he tried to make sense of the two gunbladers in front of him. "What's this? The poser and lamb at each other's throats?" Kefka pressed a manicured hand against his chest. "Ultimecia! I didn't know it's my birthday!"
The time sorceress shot the clown an annoyed look before turning her attention back to the two Warriors of Cosmos. "I believe we should take this opportunity while their guard is down."
The clown widened his eyes before looking at her pitifully. "Oh but the drama! The suspense! THE BLOODSHED TO BE HAD!" He looked at her with big, innocent eyes- well, as innocent as his manic grin allowed. "Surely a wrinkly hag like you would appreciate the drama? And the bloodshed?"
Kefka jumped backwards as he dodged as three magical lances materialized from behind the time witch and tried to impale him. Ultimecia glared hard at the clown. "What did you just say?"
"I said you have less wrinkles than my cute white butt?"
A circular crest of energy formed under him before the ground he was standing on exploded. Kefka emerged from the dust unscathed, grinning madly.
"Toots, if you wanted me out of my clothes so much, all you had to do was ask." He tsked. "Oh, and get me a shiny gunblade. I've always wanted a toothpick."
Ultimecia sighed. "Never, EVER, say that again." Turning her attention back to the two warrirors, she realized they were ready to fight.
Lightning charged forwards towards them.
"Wheee! It's that female swordsman!" Kefka clapped his hands in glee. "Can I keep her?"
"Just go." The witch deadpanned.
As the clown met the pinkette head-on, Ultimecia's gaze met Squall's, watching out for any sudden movements.
She noted that despite their impending battle, a rare emotion swam through the brunet's normally cool gaze.
Bartz was flashing through his assortment of replica weapons when Zidane suddenly popped a question.
"Hey? Do you think They hate each other?" Zidane nodded at Lightning and Squall's direction upon Bartz's questioning gaze.
"I don't think so." Bartz frowned. "They work well together; it's as if they can read each other's minds."
"Yeah but, they've always been glaring at each other recently." The genome argued.
Bartz had to agree with that. A stray thought suddenly made him stop examining his weapons. "No way… do you think it's-" he snuck a quick glance at the two glaring warriors before continuing in a whisper. "- sexual tension?"
Zidane eyed Bartz weirdly. "You're making fun of me, aren't you?"
Bartz laughed merrily, waving off Zidane's gaze. "Partly. I mean, what else could it be?" He sat down next to the genome. "All we did was ask one of them to scout ahead when they both suddenly started staring at each other."
The blond genome sighed. "You know, I give up." He threw his arms up in the air in defeat before lying down, hands tucked behind his head. "You go settle this blood feud they seem to have going on."
"Me?" Bartz looked alarmed. He pointed at the two gunblade users. "I'm not about to get in between that. They both don't talk so I have no clue what their problem is!"
"Why don't you just ask them?" Another voice joined in. The blond and the brunet looked up to find Cecil with firewood held in his arms.
"Was that a question?" Zidane shot back. Bartz bopped Zidane on the head. Zidane yelped before glaring accusingly at the mimic. "You were thinking it too!"
The paladin smiled cheerfully at the duo. "I took no offense from that." He gave a placating smile. "I am worried about the state of affairs of our two comrades, though."
Bartz nodded his head while Zidane sat up. "We don't know what's wrong though- ah!"
The three saw Squall stalk into the wilderness. Zidane looked puzzled when the pinkette folded her arms against her chest, her eyes once more having that triumphant glint in them.
"Again!" Zidane pointed an accusing finger at the woman as he leapt to his feet.
Lightning snapped in their direction when she heard the outburst. The glimmer in her eyes vanished as she shot them a puzzled look. "What?"
Zidane and Bartz suddenly looked away. Cecil just smiled sheepishly, scratching the back of his head.
"Lightning can read minds." Vaan suddenly declared. The trio stared at the sky pirate. "Or Squall can read minds. One or the other. Or both." The trio continued to stare. "Look, point is, they can read minds!"
Luneth was the first to reply. "I'll pretend that makes perfect sense." He paused briefly. "Didn't work. Why?"
Vaan grinned at them. "Well, you've seen how well they work together." He placed his hands behind his head. "And most of the time, they don't even talk. Don't you find it suspicious?"
Bartz and Zidane seemed to consider the sky pirate's words when Luneth folded his arms. "They can't read each other's minds. If they could, the they wouldn't be fighting."
"Ah-ha!" Vaan suddenly shouted. "But they're not fighting!" He smirked. "They're just staring at each when one of them goes off to do something."
The blond haired genome frowned as he crossed his arms. "They're at it again, aren't they?"
Vaan grinned sheepishly as he rubbed his nose with his hand. "I thought I'd shed some insight."
"Or lack thereof." Luneth snapped back. An evil glint in Vaan's eyes was the only warning the silver-haired youth had before the sky pirate had him in a headlock, the much larger boy rubbing his fist against his scalp. "Stop, stop! I give! I give!"
Vaan gave him one last noogie before letting go. Luneth glared at the blond.
"Guys?" Bartz suddenly cut in. "I think I know what's going on now." The brown-haired wanderer declared. Turning to the sky pirate, he continued. "Vaan, did you tell either of them to do something again?"
Vaan nodded. "Yeah. I asked one of them to go find Tidus and Jecht so we can get going." Vaan replaced his hands behind his head. "Those two are probably sparring up another storm somewhere."
"Never mind that." Zidane cut in. "What's wrong? Have you found out why those two seem to be at each other's throats?"
"Maybe." Bartz nodded sagely. "You know how people who are too similar tend to hate each other? They both probably thought up the same thing and started fighting because of it!"
Realization dawned on the blond genome. "Of course! I knew their interactions were awkward!"
Luneth shook his head but was ignored by the suddenly enthusiastic duo. Vaan folded his arms.
"I still say they can read minds."
Luneth sighed. "Sadly, your explanation makes more sense than Bartz's."
Zidane and Bartz were cheering when suddenly their spirits darkened.
"What can we do about this, though?" Bartz looked worried. It's not like they could whack them on the head and their personalities would suddenly change, right?
A shiver suddenly ran down Zidane's spine. Luneth and Vaan quirked a brow at him. "I guess we really have to talk with the both of them about their-" he grimaced. "-emotions."
A somber silence descended on the group.
Luneth secured his helmet on his head. "I'm ready."
Clearly, he still remembered the beating an angry Squall had put him through.
"H-hey!" The blond genome waved at Lightning. Behind the pinkette, Squall was emerging from the forest, a small hint of annoyance in his step.
Both warriors leveled him with a cool stare, making Zidane rub the bag of his head sheepishly, starting to rethink whether this was a good idea or not.
Bartz pushed the tailed boy forward when he started to slink back. Zidane threw him a helpless look before sighing. "Where are Tidus and Jecht?"
Luneth hung his head while Vaan and Bartz snickered.
"They're on their way." Lightning replied. Beside her, Squall closed his eyes as he leaned against the tree.
"That's…good." The short blond gave a hollow laugh.
"This is getting awkward." Luneth mumbled to the sky pirate.
Vaan folded his arms behind his head. "You kidding me? This is precious!"
Zidane perked at Vaan's tone. "Ah! Squall, Light!" Squall opened an eye to show he was paying attention. Grinning madly, the genome pointed at the sandy-haired blond. "Vaan has something to talk to you about!"
Bartz gaped at Zidane's attempt to pass the torch while Luneth quickly left Vaan's side to stand behind Bartz. Vaan glared at the genome, who stuck his tongue out at him, before sighing. He walked forward to stand in front of the two gunblade wielders.
"Well, Zidane's been worried about the two of you fighting all the time." He started, ignoring Zidane's indignant yell. "He figured you two should have a heart-to-heart and work out your differences." Here, Luneth gaped and only his determination to see this through kept him from bolting to the nearest boulder and ducking for cover. "So, spill! Why are you two so hostile?"
Bartz quickly tried to amend the situation. "What we mean is, we're all friends here, right? We need to settle our difference peacefully. We've got enough trouble trying to keep the manikins from our throats, what more our comrades?"
Squall shot Lightning a puzzled look, who mirrored his own. Turning his attention back to them, Squall asked wonderingly. "What are you talking about?"
Zidane snapped. "Oh come on!" He stomped forward toward the gunblade users. "You-" he pointed at Squall. "-always shrug people off; I can accept that. You-" this time he pointed at Lightning. "-always sulk; I find that hot." Bartz spluttered as Zidane coughed against his fist. "Nevertheless, whenever you two are together, you start glaring at each other. What we want to know is why you seem to hate each other!"
Squall and Lightning immediately leveled each other with a stare, making Zidane pull on his hair. Vaan placed a hand on his shoulder to calm him down. Vaan smiled reassuringly. "Calm down. They're reading each other's minds."
The tailed boy felt a vein pop on his head. Off to their side, Luneth and Bartz observed the two gunblade users.
Several moments passed, at which point Lightning shifted her position so she had her arms folded under her breasts as she tilted her head to the side, the edge of her lips quirking up slightly. Squall's brow twitched and he growled as another look of triumph passed through the pinkette's face.
The wandering mimic and the Onion Knight's eyes widened as they finally understood the situation.
"That's it?" Luneth gaped, catching everyone's attention. Vaan and Zidane shot the silver-haired knight a questioning look. Luneth pointed at the two gunblade users. "Don't you see? They weren't glaring after all!"
"Huh?" The genome shot him a blank look.
"They were staring." Bartz clarified. Zidane shot him a blank look, too.
Vaan dropped his fist on his palm, suddenly realizing what the two were getting at. "You mean, that's it? They were playing a game?"
"Sort of." Surprisingly, that was Squall. Turning their attention back to the tall brunet, he continued. "Military laws are very explicit about the 'don't blink' methodology for partner decisions." He stated lowly.
Lightning nodded her head, satisfied with his explanation.
The genome scratched the back of his head. "Then…why are you always angry?"
Luneth nodded his head, wanting to know why he received such a beating from a simple spar.
"He's all talk." Lightning smugly stated, making Squall shoot her an annoyed glare. "No matter how many times he tells people to talk to a wall. . ." She smirked.
"He really is just a big poser."
The rest of the warriors at the clearing laughed at the brunet's expense.
"Lightning always cheats." Squall mumbled out, trying to defend his pride. Sadly, his flushed face only made everyone laugh louder.
The pinkette's smirk turned into a small smile. She punched the taller warrior's shoulder lightly. "There's always next time, loser." She said, her words carried out in an unusually soft tone.
Nobody apart from her intended heard it, as they were too busy laughing their heads off as relief bathed them.
Squall shot her a minute upturning of his lips. Squall would deny smiling.
"Don't let your guard down."
A/N: Based on a joke from Red Versus Blue. This is an attempt at writing a humorous Squall/Lightning while I try to tackle the personalities of the other characters- most specifically Vaan (as preparation for a future one-shot). Hopefully this time, I've managed to keep my two favorite gunblade wielders in character… even if they didn't talk much.
On another note, for my dissidia fanfictions, I'll be keeping Onion Knight as Luneth. For Warrior of Light and Cloud of Darkness though… any little hint would be appreciated for their names . . . (I might actually end up just calling them Luc and Yami, respectively, at this rate).