Title: How Ultros Got His Groove Back
Rating: SFW (ridiculous)
Wordcount: 1309
Summary: The pure and epic love of Ultros and Chupon.

Note: Written (hastily, ha ha) for Team Ifrit for the September round of FFEX's Chocobo Races, for deadcellredux's prompt "THERE'S A LOT OF HILARIOUS POTENTIAL HERE AND I'M REALLY NOT SORRY." I am not sorry, either!

Using SNES canon here, because "Chupon" is a funnier word than "Typhon."

An octopus couldn't get much lower than this.

He'd spent a few hours trying to convince himself that the little brat was just a lousy artist, but he'd been watching her for too long to believe that. Eventually, when he seemed to be holding steady at rock-bottom, he dragged himself to the edge of a clear mountain pool and confronted his reflection. It turned out that rock-bottom was a little farther down.

Ultros really was a washed-up, hideous, common blight of an octopus.

Arms flailing, he let out a mournful howl and sprayed ink until the ground and the pool turned black. This was the first stage of octopus grief. Subsequent stages would not get any prettier.

In the inky pit of his despair, he didn't notice that he had company until the company said, "Fungahhh?" directly above him.

Ultros peered upward at a swirling pink-and-yellow mass, something like an exceptionally solid cloud filled with teeth and claws. Most of the teeth jutted out of a face staring at him; another face, less defined, grew out of its other end. He had never seen any creature half so magnificent.

With another inquisitive roar, the creature drifted lower, wispy ears twitching. From its new angle, Ultros could see what looked like a piece of a rusted piece of machinery poking out of its back, as if it had swallowed Magitek armor and keep a piece as an extra spine.

Entranced, Ultros reached a tentative arm toward it. "You're, uh. Uh."

"He's a chupon," squawked an unsettling bird-beast that must have been rudely lurking for quite some time. "Got loose from some humans." Ultros gnashed his fangs at it before tipping forward and squirting out what was left of his ink reserves. The creature's noisy, panicked dash back into the caves slightly improved his mood.

His magnificent new friend laughed until the noise turned into a wet sneeze that leveled a tree. When Ultros offered, "Gesundheit," the chupon extended a blue, smog-scented tongue and licked his entire mantle.

A ridiculous giggle escaped Ultros. He felt like such a fool. His stupid old octopus hearts had no business beating like a cuttlefish's. "So, uh, I'm Ultros. You got a name?"

The chupon rumbled uncertainly. A plume of black smoke puffed out of the metal on his back.

"Well, that's no good. A guy like you oughta go by something respectful." Ultros hummed bit before saying, "How about I call you Mr. Chupon?"

With a noise like a thunderstorm trying to purr, Mr. Chupon resumed slurping.

They flew, away from Thamasa, past the Veldt, and out over the sea. The arms that Ultros wasn't using to hold on to Chupon's back flapped in the wind, wobbling like the increasingly fine line between exhilaration and terror. The cool, thin air smelled of salt and chupon.

"You do this a lot?" he shouted over the rushing air. "'Cause I, uh, don't. More of a swimmer, myself. Excellent swimmer. You know, what with the arms and the lack of bones."

Mr. Chupon mercifully cut off his babbling by twisting his upper head around, evincing a similar lack of skeletal constraints, and nuzzling. Ultros held on with two more arms as they went into a quick series of loops. The horizon spun like a pinwheel, then stopped abruptly as Mr. Chupon sneezed through both mouths.

"Hey," said Ultros, "you're not allergic to me, are you?"

Rumbling dismissively, Mr. Chupon gestured at the landscape. Allergic to everything, probably. How terribly unjust that such a free spirit should be rejected by the world he just wanted to experience to its fullest.

An idea struck. "Ever been to the opera?" When Mr. Chupon shook his larger head, Ultros grinned and said, "A bunch of jerks wrecked one of my best plans at an opera once. Wanna go wreck an opera?"

With a gleeful roar, Mr. Chupon changed course.

No one would forget that rendition of "Aria di Mezzo Carattere" any time soon.

Ultros woke the next morning amid the wreckage of the box seats, still haphazardly wearing bits of the Prince Ralse costume, to the sensation of Mr. Chupon gnawing gently on his head and a fluttery feeling in his hearts. This was probably sex. And he was definitely having it.

"Oh," he gasped, "Mr. Chupon!"

"Fungahhh" vibrated throughout his body.

Love was a beautiful thing.

On the flight back to the mountains of Thamasa to celebrate their one-day anniversary, burning scrap metal rained down from above. Mr. Chupon sneezed it irritably away as Ultros squinted up at its origin. He inked in alarm; a piece of the ground floated improbably high in the sky, with airships buzzing around it like angry bees.

As Mr. Chupon drew closer, Ultros could just make out a set of familiar figures. He pointed with his angriest arm, suckers bristling with indignation. "Hey, it's those jerks."

Mr. Chupon roared with sympathetic fury. No need to elaborate; Ultros didn't talk much about any other jerks. With a flick of his second mouth, Mr. Chupon rocketed toward glorious vengeance.

Or what should have been glorious vengeance, in a just world. Ultros would have been much more upset about this if the world hadn't exploded shortly afterward.

In the throes of the third stage of octopus grief (opening jars, filling them with the secretions of misery, and hurling them at anyone who made eye contact), Ultros came upon the Colosseum.

This had to be a sign; grief progression required adopting a new vice and coatings its paraphernalia with secretions of begrudging acceptance. And he did have to keep progressing. Mr. Chupon would have wanted him to. Magnificent beings like Mr. Chupon didn't come along twice in a lifetime, a fact no lack of begrudging acceptance was going to change.

He knew this. He'd been counting the days and the dwindling odds that Mr. Chupon was out there somewhere. But his hearts just weren't in it, which was the only possible explanation for how he ended up with a gambling debt that had more digits than he did arms.

The fifth stage of octopus grief looked to be listless receptionist work, forever.

He was considering stealing jars from the break room and reverting to stage three when panicked noises rippled toward him from the lobby entrance. He glanced up just in time to see a pink-and-yellow blur speeding toward him with a bellowed "Fungahhh!"

Ultros's brain was still processing this when the impact came, splintering his desk and knocking aside a customer he had been pretending not to notice. It wasn't until his suckers tangled in wispy tufts and half his head was inside an intimately familiar mouth that he accepted the reality of it all: Mr. Chupon. Here. A little worse for the wear, but not at all dead.

In gleefully flagrant violation of half a dozen workplace rules, Ultros latched on with all eight arms and nuzzled amid the remains of his desk. A sneeze from Mr. Chupon's lower end took out several more pieces of furniture.

When the Colosseum's owner bustled disapprovingly out of his office, Ultros scowled, set four arms akimbo, and snapped, "This is my lost-long boyfriend, you obnoxious plebe."

By the time the shouting was over, he'd been docked a paycheck, given the rest of the day off, and told that Mr. Chupon could pay for the damages by competing in the next day's fights.

Ultros had a crappy job in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, but his life was, all things considered, pretty great. Even the job was almost enjoyable now that it largely consisted of watching chumps get blown out of the ring by Mr. Chupon, whose winnings had already put a sizable dent in Ultros's debt. Not a bad gig at all.

When the recurring jerks of his life showed up at his desk, he didn't even try to eat them.