I apologize in advance if I get anything wrong, particularly their personalities and such. I'm going off of what I've played on a borrowed system and game. Also, I apologize for spoilers if you read this and don't know Jay's back story. If you don't want to be spoiled (a bit), click the back button now...
DISCLAIMER: I do not own ANYTHING related to Tales of Legendia. Not the characters, not the actual storyline, not even a copy of the game. I've only played so far into it on my friend's memory card. Nope, don't even own the system to play it on.
Dare to Share
Night was already settling around the small group of travelers when the tallest suggested they all stop and set up camp. His words were met with a few grumbles, the two of which soon found their heads hurting a bit from the orange clad male.
"Oh please. Those who can't handle such simple tasks should just go back home." The remark was made by a dark-haired androgynous male, his arms rising and falling in a brief shrug at the others' complaints.
However, such words were going to give rise to an argument, the one to start said disagreement paused in the middle of turning to gather firewood for the night to glare at the younger male with his only visible eye. Although he didn't actually reply, the female just a bit off to his left did. Incidentally, both of their heads had slight bumps atop their heads. "But, JJ…" She whined, lips curling down into a pout.
Jay shook his head, clearly not wanting to deal with others more than he really, really has to. He passed by a young, white-haired male who seemed to be slightly amused with his companions. With a short glare in Senel's direction, the ninja turned to help their main healer set up a trio of tents. Soon the matter of who'd be sharing with whom that night came up, even though two of their party had left to gather firewood.
"Well, it's obvious the girls will be able to settle their own tentmate decisions without us," Will commented, glancing towards where Chloe and Grune were trying to figure out what to cook for dinner. "So it's up to the four of us I suppose."
Almost immediately, Senel expressed interest to share a tent with the older male. Although that put a foul taste in the younger's mouth, resulting in a frown. "I refuse to share a tent with that barbarian."
"Damnit, Jay. Why do ya always gotta drag me into things?" Moses demanded, a couple bundles of sticks in his arms as he strode closer to the campsite; Norma not too far behind carrying absolutely nothing. The rest of the males in the party turned to give the redhead odd looks, some less enthused to see him than others. "I don't recall mentioning your name, Moses," Jay stated, the loathing in his voice as clear as what could be see of his pale skin. His eyes were narrowed as the teen gazed upon his unwanted traveling companion, arms crossed with a hammer in his right hand from setting up the tents. "Although it's true you're fairly savage, it doesn't necessarily mean I meant you."
Moses threw down the wood towards the dark-haired teen's shoe-covered feet. "So what? We all knew who ya were talkin' 'bout, Jay."
"Oh look how nicely they're getting along…" The white-haired woman commented, her voice as calm and soothing as usual.
Everyone paused for a moment to look over at Grune, varying states of wonder on their faces. Shaking his head a couple of times, the bandit leader stepped closer to the one member of their part he had yet to resolve any quarrels they might have with...including the problems from their initial meeting. "You wanna say somethin', say it ta my face, alright?" He brought up a fist, stopping inches from the ex-assassin's calm expression. "Or would ya rather settle things right now? You and me, Jay-" Moses paused, a giggle meeting his ears from behind him. He spun around, turning his back on Jay completely, to face the source or the sound. "What's so funny, Bubbles?"
By this point, most of the others had gone back to setting up camp and ignoring the three of them. The only one who had yet to do so whom wasn't currently involved was Grune. Apparently she found their argument fun to listen to and enjoyed watching them. "Oh nothing…" Norma replied, twirling half way around before prancing around the two males. She picked up the bundles Moses had brought and made her way past Red, whispering something that was just soft enough that Jay couldn't understand it. Although the ninja assumed it must have been something in order to shut Moses up so easily and cause him to glare back for a moment before following the treasure hunter.
It puzzled Jay for a moment, but he soon wrote it off as feminine foolishness and went back to helping get ready for the night.
Later on that night, the group of travelers were subjected to the bored mind of Norma who thought it'd be fun to suggest a game for them to play. At the moment she said it, most of her companions were wishing they had taken Will up on his offer of taking the first shift for night watch...for he had already gone to sleep in order to be alert for it. So while the sherif got to rest, the rest of them were practically tricked into agreeing. After all, who can say no when it's Grune asking for them to join her in strengthening their bonds of friendship?
"Alright, what's the game?" Chloe wondered, having a slight suspicion due to other activities Norma had convinced her to join in on in the past.
Grune smiled. "Truth and dare."
Sighing, Norma shook her head with a smile upon her face. "G-Girl means truth or dare." She looked around at the four of them whom had no hand in thinking up the idea. You pick someone and ask 'truth or dare'. Depending on what they pick, you either ask them a question or they do a dare." The treasure chick explained as normally as she always did despite those she was talking to. "Oh, and you have to tell the truth if you pick it. No exceptions!" Norma looked around at her companions, some obviously more excited about it than others.
"That's all fine and good, but I think I'll pass." With that having been said, Jay made to stand until a hand snatched his wrist. He spun around, pulling both arms closer to him, and withdrew his dagger to point at the one who tried to stop him. Violet eyes landed on a single red one with a glare. "What do you want?"
Moses smirked as he gestured to their companions. "Well, we may not like the idea, but none of us are chickens, right? Or are ya too scared to play a simple game like-?"
"I am not scared you stupid bandit." The dark-haired teenager settled back down where he had been earlier, an unreadable expression on his face. "So, Norma, who first?"
Bubbles giggled, smiling. "How about you, JJ? Truth or dare?"
"Hmm…" To those who knew his personality at least a bit, it was clear Jay was weighing his options. On one hand he may have to admit something he didn't ever want to discuss aloud. Yet on the other hand, he may be told to do something that would otherwise make him sick to his stomach just thinking about. Then again, this was Norma. How much damage could choosing the safer of two evils be? After all, as long as he kept a straight face, they'd believe anything he said to be truth. "Truth."
"Why do you have such long hair?"
Jay paused upon hearing her question. Really? That was the first thing she asks? He mentally shook his head, thinking that he should actually be happy Norma decided on such a frivolous question. "It's easier to keep it out of my way," the teenage ninja replied evenly, knowing he was only telling half the truth. But they didn't need to know the other half… Turning directly towards the white-haired alliance marine, he somewhat surprised everyone else by not choosing Moses as his victim. "So, Senel, shall we play?" Senel nodded, deciding to go with the previous decision as well. "Well then, mind telling us why you originally told us Shirley was your sister?"
With a shrug, Senel allowed himself to smile slightly. "It came naturally to me, actually. I've always seen Shirley as a younger sister, so I guess I never thought it odd to say I was looking for my sister even though she really wasn't." His explanation gave a bit more insight to his personality, mostly to the ones who were actually paying attention...so basically everyone awake except Grune. Senel's gaze rotated around at each of this friends, trying to decide who to pick. Jay obviously didn't need to be chosen again so soon and he wasn't quite sure what to ask any of the girls. So in the end he turned to the bandit. "Truth or dare, Moses?"
"Dare." The redhead's choice didn't surprise anyone. Some even went as far as to react softly, whether it was to scoff or giggle with an obvious smile. "An make it interestin', alright?"
The alliance marine nodded. "If that's what you want," he replied, thinking back to when Stella, Shirley, and he would play the game as kids. Although their ideas were fairly out there at the time, he was sure someone like Moses was used to the wilder side of life. As such, it took him a bit to decide on a dare. "I dare you…" Senel paused for a moment, gaze shifting to his side temporarily. "Compliment Jay in some way." Moses' mouth opened, just about to speak when Senel added to what he had decided on for a dare. "And you have to really mean it. You can't just say something nice but know it's not actually true."
The bandit leader froze, his expression showing his hesitation before turning his head to look his dare in the eye. "Well, ya might not take this as a compliment…"
"Just say it and move on, you idiot." Violet eyes narrowed, having a feeling that he wasn't going to think anything the redhead would say was positive in the least.
The single red eye kept it's gaze on where the short male sat. They waited in silence, most wondering what Moses had thought of. "You're cute."
His words received varied reactions. Norma smiled slightly upon noticing her friend's response to the dare. Chloe's and Senel's expressions didn't really change, but the latter clearly hadn't thought Moses would say something like that. While Grune appeared to be as pleasantly oblivious as usual, there was a slight shine in her eyes that wasn't normally there. On the other hand, the one subjected to Moses' words the most had completely frozen, eyes widened a hair more than his usual indifferent gaze, and just a hint of color had appeared upon the ex-assassin's cheeks. Composing himself quickly, Jay gave the bandit the worst glare he could at the moment. "Just as I thought, idiotic words from a savage rarely should be taken seriously." That being said, the dark-haired male stood and strode over to Will Senel's tent and disappeared within.
His companions stared after him for a few moments, before Chloe got to her feet as well. "I'd say it's time for everyone to get some rest." She gestured towards the sky where the sun had almost set completely. "He's probably waking Raynard up for the first shift, so it would be a good idea to take advantage of the opportunity."
While Norma and Grune took her advice, each of them bidding the rest good night in their own way, the pair of males remained where they were. Once they were the only ones left, Senel chuckled slightly. "You sure now how to make things awkward for people, don't you?"
Moses shrugged. "Ain't my fault you all took it that way. You told me to be truthful and I was. What's wrong with tellin' him I think he's cute? My boys wouldn't have found it odd."
"That's because you're all uncivilized fools." Neither of them had heard the rustle of fabric, but clearly Will had successfully been awoken for Jay stood beside the flap with his arms across his chest.
The redhead stood in an instant. "Hey now, I don' care as much if ya insult me, but nobody insults my boys, got that?"
With nothing more in response than a blank look, Jay turned away to enter the tent he would have to share with the bandit soon enough. Although, if their ears didn't deceive them, it could have sounded like the youngest of the three had muttered something in reply.
Moments later, Will emerged from his and Senel's tent seeming pretty well rested despite the slight disheveled look about him. He glanced towards the other males' tent for a few seconds before turning his attention back at Moses and Senel; well, more Moses than Senel. "Did you comment on his height again? You know how sensitive he gets about that." Both of them shook their heads in response, slightly confusing the researcher. "Then what did you do this time?"
Since he was already standing, the bandit leader took a few steps away from their male healer in anticipation of a fist to his head. "Accordin' ta Senel I did somethin', but I didn' know I did at the time I said it."
Will shifted his eyes over to look at Senel directly. "Do you mind…?"
"Already going," the teen replied as he got to his feet. Just as he passed Will, the white-haired iron eres muttered a short good night and then left the two alone near the fire.
Their eyes met temporarily, before the older of the two settled down onto the grass near Moses' feet; his back to the tents. A simple gesture told the redhead that Will would like him to join the almost thirty-year-old man upon the ground. Moses complied with a sigh, still somewhat confused as to why everyone was freaking out about what he'd said. "So would you like to explain from the beginning? What happened while I was asleep?"
Moses' gaze wandered around, sometimes staying to watch parts of the forest life, and sometimes just to stall for time. "Well, Bubbles suggested we all play a game. So we did, and it came my turn and Senel asked if I wanted a dare or not. I picked dare and he said I had ta compliment Jay else I face the consequences of refusin' the dare."
"Wait, dare? What games were you guys playing?"
The younger of the two shrugged. "Something about truth and dare. It sounded interestin', so I didn't question it." Will nodded in understanding, waiting for Moses to continue with explaining what had happened. "Since Senel said it had to be the truth, I told him that he was cute. An I mean Jay, not Senel."
"Well, I can see where the confusion occured. Most species' males don't appreciate that term being used to describe them." When the redhead looked like he was going to object, his elder held up a hand. "And I say most because there are some species, along with certain subspecies, that take such a word as a compliment. Bird-like creatures are the main ones I've researched, but I'm sure they're not the only ones as you're an example of that."
"Hey, I ain't no test subject, Will."
"I'm simply stating what could have been the cause of Jay's negative reaction to what you deemed a compliment." The researcher paused, a thoughtful look appearing upon his face. "Then again. There is another, although much less likely, reason for the reaction…"
It wasn't until much later, perhaps an hour and a half or two, that Moses bid Will goodnight and left to get some rest. When he lifted the flap to the temporary shelter, his good eye looked everywhere but at his sleeping tentmate. Although eventually, he had to when he gathered up the blanket resting beside Jay.
The rustling caused the ninja to turn over onto his side, facing Moses' direction. He froze at the motion as the bandit had been trying to be discreet. With a silent sigh, the redhead released the breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding.
"You may be a bandit but you're still a savage, fool." The sound of another's voice startled him, causing his gaze to fall and meet a pair of alert violet eyes. Their owner smirked, sitting up to be able to properly cross his arms across his chest. "You would do well to learn a bit more about stealth before trying to sneak around, especially around someone like me."
Moses remained silent for a moment before raising both his arms in a more elaborate shrug than he normally did; the blanket in one hand while the other open and empty. "I guess you're right." He turned to make it appear he was going to sleep outside, like he sometimes actually did in the past few weeks, but paused just before lifting the opening of the tent. "Hey, Jay…"
The bandit's head rotated far enough to just be able to glance back at the younger of them. "You wanna finish that game?"
Jay scoffed. "Of course not, the others aren't even awake anymore."
A red eye stared directly at the younger, not to mention shorter, male's face in search for any change in expression: none whatsoever. "Well, I meant it'd just be us. One last round before bed."
Surprisingly, he didn't immediately shoot down the possibility like he originally had. Instead Jay thought about it for a short while before raising a hand to gesture to Moses for him to sit down. "Alright, who first?"
Moses strode back to where the blanket used to lay and settled down, crossing his legs in front of him. He stared at the pale teenager before him, quite a serious expression on his face. "Truth or dare, Jay?" Before the ninja even began thinking about his response, before the bandit had even entered the tent initially, the redhead knew exactly what he would say for either choice.
Taking a deep breath and closing his visible eye, Moses calmed himself before raising his eyelid to look down at the somewhat feminine face of the one not many had known what he looked like up until a short while ago. Jay the Unseen...He certainly kept a low profile for someone who gathers information. It's pretty creepy if you think about it.
"Well? What question do I have to answer?" The young teenager was getting impatient, but oddly enough hadn't resorted to physical violence yet.
Moses had to work a bit to keep anything that could give away the response he wanted as he spoke, but he accomplished the task with ease. "Which guy's your fav?" If, and only if, Jay remembered the conversation he and the guys had had a few weeks ago, then he'd probably understand what the redheaded bandit was asking.
The young ninja looked like he was about to retort with an immediate response, yet he remained silent for a bit. "Reword your question. There are a few ways in which you could mean, so it'd be a good idea for you to clarify what you want to know."
"Er…" Moses sighed. "Alrigh' then. Ya know how ya mentioned none of the girls in our group interest ya? Well, the question I'm askin' is if there're any guys that've caught your interest."
Jay's skin gained a slight bit of color. "Are you trying to ask if I'm gay, you stupid bandit?" He shook his head, as if in disbelief that such a question would be needed to ask. "One would think, considering my appearance, that you'd already know that answer."
"Ya mean the way ya look?" Jay nodded. "What's that gotta do with anythin'?"
With a sigh, violet eyes glanced away from the other male. "Your lack of intelligence is almost saddening," he remarked, the light pink shade darkening. "But I've answered your question. Truth or dare?"
Jay's gaze snapped back towards Moses in surprise. "And here I thought you'd choose dare again, but no matter." Silence fell over the two as the younger though of something to ask. "...What is it to you if I'm interested in males of not?"
He waited with slight impatience for an answer, yet knew he shouldn't be so hard on the other since the pale teen hadn't responded all to quickly either.
"Because I want to confirm what I've been wonderin' ever since you said you weren't interested in any of the girls."
Nodding, Jay moved slightly in a way that made it seem he was going to try to go back to sleep but then stopped himself to look back at Moses. "Would you like to play a game the Oresoren taught me a few years ago?"
An eyebrow rose in speculation for a few moments, but then its owner nodded in agreement. "Alrigh', what're the rules?" In all honesty, the bandit had thought his idea would have helped him understand the boy better, but so far not much had changed.
"They called it by a different name, but I refer to it as Twenty Truths. There are only a few rules. You must tell something true that you think the other doesn't yet know. If you lie, you lose. If you react to the other's statement, you also lose. Seem simple enough for a fool like you to understand?"
"What'll happen if we go through all the truths and no one's lost?"
A small smile inched upon the ninja's face. "Oh, you don't need to worry about that. No one can tell the complete truth twenty times in a row."
Moses smirked, "I'll go first then, just to see if I got it. I've known Giet ever since I were little."
"I dislike talking unnecessarily."
The older of the pair would have smirked at the statement, but he remembered that he'd lose the game if he did, and figured that it'd be over once someone lost. "Your insults don't bother me anymore."
"Nor do your's."
"I think the bond between Senel and Shirley is a wonderful thing, despite the issues they've had in the past."
Despite his reservations on mentioning it, Jay was fairly certain he'd end the game quickly if he said what came to mind next. "...I was raised not to feel."
While Moses' eye wanted to widen in surprise, he didn't allow it to: simply to continue their game. "I understand lots more than people think I do just by lookin' at me."
Jay paused, allowing himself to let a bit of a smirk show through as he spoke his fourth true statement. "I'm slightly jealous of those who have an easy time fitting into society."
The red eye narrowed at the thought that came to mind, his tone of voice changing a bit as it allowed anger to edge into it. "I hate those who would betray their family and those they consider family."
"I'd like to commend you for getting this far without lying." As he spoke, Jay knew it was slightly underhanded statement, but it was true nonetheless. So, technically, he hadn't cheated despite the fact that his words were a cheap trick at trying to end the game before it got too personal too often.
"Well, I'd like ta remind ya that you're quite cute," Moses replied. Although he wanted to stop there, the redhead couldn't help but continue. "Especially when you're sleepin'."
Jay adverted his gaze, not wanted to see the possible smirk that might result of his next words, even if that reaction meant the end of the game. "I'm jealous of your height." The worst part about it was that he didn't want to admit it, particularly to Moses.
"I enjoy makin' ya feel human."
The dark-haired teen wanted to react and ask why, but he wanted to make Moses lose instead of taking the easy way out and losing himself. "I'm most comfortable alone."
Moses set his arms out behind him, his hands flat on the ground. Leaning back and tilting his head up towards the ceiling of the tent, he thought about what to say next. It was then that Will's earlier words echoed in his head, spurring him onward with his initial goal of talking to Jay alone. "I know I lie multiple times a day, but mainly I'm lyin' to you."
"You're the only one who has capability to agitate me so easily."
If either of them was surprised the other had lasted for so long, it didn't show in the slightest. "Despite what you may think, I'm always concerned for your safety when we get inta fights with monsters or other types a enemies."
"I work hard at what I do so I don't need to worry about the outcome of a battle, yet I know not everything can be prevented."
"I feel quite protective of ya."
He wanted to make his next statement something frivolous, but a part of him stopped such words from leaving his lips. So he decided to try even harder to make Moses lose. "I was six years old when I first killed a man."
"I've never met my parents."
"I was raised by the man who made me who I am today, yet he is not my father."
Things all of a sudden got very quick and serious. "I trust very few people with my life."
"There are only a few people I trust at all."
"I actually thought you'd appreciate me callin' ya cute."
"I have never, especially once I started living with the Oresoren, taken receiving compliments well."
"For some reason I can't figure out, my mind won't let me be 'til I learn the answer."
"I'm curious as to why you cared so much as to go through all you did to find out about my orientation, which I have yet to confirm, by the way."
"I think I have feelings for a member of our traveling party."
Having suspected as much, Jay simply took in the words as a confirmation of his own thoughts...which were soon directed elsewhere from where he had wanted them to be at the moment. "Believe it or not, I am a human being with emotions that need to be dealt with as well. I'm not as cold-hearted as I make myself seem."
"The one I've got my sights on ain't who you'd normally think them ta be." The goal of winning the game had long since left Moses' mind. All he wanted was to get his point across; a point he only realized completely after talking with their groups' eldest male.
His words made Jay pause in the rapid fire statements of truth to think his next one through a bit more than he had been. "...I have a secret I shouldn't tell anyone, especially not you."
"I said 'them' insteada 'her; 'cause I'm interested in a man."
"I suspect you'll get what you agreed to play this game for when I tell you the secret involves abnormal feelings."
Moses almost scoffed, since he thought any kind of feelings were abnormal to Jay. Although he refrained from doing so, because despite the small number of statements they each had until they reached twenty, he wanted to see the game through to a draw. "I think we're both in the closet up 'til now."
It made him slightly sad to realize that, after his next statement, he'd only have two left until the game was over. "I hadn't gotten angry at you for what you said, only when you chose to say it."
"At the time of the game, I wasn't bein' completely honest, 'cause I wanted to say I think you're more'n just cute."
"I had been more embarrassed than I would have liked during the game."
"I think that I...have feelings for ya."
They both froze for a moment, but the younger of the two had less of a surprised expression upon his face. "Wait wait wait, what? How did ya know before I figured it out?"
Jay smirked knowingly. "You forget it's my job to gather information, especially if that information doesn't want to be well-known by others." In actuality he had only put the pieces together steadily after Moses' turn during truth or dare, but the young ninja wasn't about to let the bandit know that. "Foolish savage."
"Yeah? Well least I ain't a midget like y-"
Unfortunately for Moses, he didn't get the chance to finish his sentence for he found himself pushed down to the ground with a 5'1" frame across his chest and a dagger at his throat. The two of them stayed there for who knows how long, just staring at each other. One with a glare while the other simply surprised. "Truth number twenty-one: I hate being short to the point of complete self-loathing."
Leaning back so he was simply sitting atop Moses without the threat of harming him, Jay's eyes became a bit distant. "Because I grew up being told that I was the perfect size to use for killing. I despised the way I was raised: to be a tool. Yet I know there's not much that I could have done to change that. The Oresoren are the reason I've changed from back then."
The redhead looked up at Jay, a somewhat contemplative expression upon his face. "That ain't what they've told me."
"Yeah," Moses nodded. "Them scallop boys told me it was 'cause of the rest of us tha' you've come outta yer shell."
Jay figured if that was really the case, then they should really attribute the change to a few people in their group; namely Moses, Grune, and Senel. Although he thought so, he didn't want to mention it to the older male just yet.
Silence fell over the pair, neither of them really moving from where they were, until Moses decided he didn't want to be a chair any longer. "So now tha we've got that figured out, wanna get off?"
"No, I don't think I will."
"But we need to get ta sleep, Jay."
"One would think, considering your confession earlier, you'd be jumping at the chance to be close to me." The young ninja smirked down at the bandit, leaning over to rest his palms atop the other's shoulders.
His words made the older of the par stop for a moment and think about them. "Then what 'bout you? Ya sure ya wanna be so close ta me knowin' I'm how I am?"
Jay's smirk widened as he lowered his head down a bit more, his forehead just barely touching the bandit leader's headpiece. "All the more reason, actually."
. . . So, wha'cha think?