A/N: So, I've had a few people ask me to write some fluff for this couple. This is the best attempt I've got.
I'm leaving to study abroad in a week and I thought to celebrate I would write a one-shot for this couple every day this week. Does Tales of Xillia really have anything to do with me studying abroad? Not directly, no. Do I care that choosing to count down my days till leaving with a one-shot collection is kinda silly? Nope. I'm choosing to celebrate this way and there's nothing you can do to stop me!
Also, I love in the game how Alvin refers to Leia as a "cheeky teenager" in one of the skits. I kinda wish he had continued calling her that.
Please note that for the course of all these stories, Alvin and Leia are already in a pre-established relationship. For some reason, I find fluff so much easier to write when the characters are already dating one another.
Title: Height Difference
Summary: Being short never really bothered Leia until Alvin wouldn't stop pointing it out.
Height differences were something Leia never really thought about. Sure, during childhood she had used the fact that she was taller than Jude as a teasing point many, many times, but a pesky growth-spurt had robbed her of that particular pleasure. She was sad to see it go, but there were a whole slew of other things she could use to tease Jude, so it wasn't a terrible loss.
Now, her relatively short stature was just a facet of herself that she didn't really have an opinion on, good or bad.
Or at least it would have been if Alvin didn't keep bringing it up at every single opportunity.
She knew it was all just good-intentioned teasing (well, as good-intentioned as Alvin's teasing could be); when he called her a "kid" or a "cheeky teenager", he gave one of those lopsided grins of his that almost always forced her to smile back. However, the more he kept indirectly bringing up how short and childish-looking she was, the more Leia kept noticing it.
The problem wasn't so much that she was short; it was that she was short and Alvin was tall. Recently, every time the two of them walked down the street hand-in-hand, in the back of her mind she couldn't help but worry that perhaps they looked more like siblings than a couple. Maybe it was petty to worry about it, but in her mind it was just another way that she was holding him back.
However, instead of giving into the voice of despair, she knew there was only one option: solve the problem as quickly and efficiently as possible. Plan A of hitting a growth spurt was immediately rejected after she remembered that she had stopped growing about two years ago. Plan B came in the form of wearing high-heels.
When the two of them went on their weekly shopping trip (Leia silently fretting all the while), she quickly detoured Alvin from the essentials such as food and brought him to a small boutique that she had scouted out earlier. To her infinite relief, the shoes she had been eyeing were still in stock. She picked them up with a triumphant smile and gently twirled them in her hand.
"Whoa, wait a minute."
Leia's elated feeling was effectively squashed by the sound of Alvin's voice behind her. When she turned around, she found him looking her over suspiciously.
"Those are top of the line designer brand shoes."
"So? What's wrong with that?"
"If you actually cared about fashion, nothing at all," Alvin said as his face broke into a grin, "Last I checked though, your only connection to the fashion world was thinking that tying bug wings to your back was 'cute'."
"They're not bug wings!" She called back defensively as she grabbed at the gossamer ornaments hanging down her back. Through her anger, she could hear Alvin laughing mightily to himself which only stood to fuel her rage. In one motion, she slammed her gald down on the counter and leaned down to begin immediately putting on the shoes. When she shot up a moment later, her old shoes still gripped in her hands, her legs felt so uncertain underneath her that she nearly fell down again.
"See, this is why I was worried," Alvin said once he regained control of himself, "Have you ever even worn heels before?"
"Nope!" Leia called enthusiastically as she tried to get used to the odd feeling of balancing on the slim points, "But it can't be that hard, right?"
She quickly found out that the answer to that rhetorical question was yes.
Apparently walking without falling and snapping your neck was some kind of super power that every other woman in the world besides Leia had. She hadn't even taken three steps before she felt her balance falter and she pitched forward – if it wasn't for Alvin catching her, she would have ended up face-down on the pavement. Quickly detangling herself from his embrace, she turned all her attention towards walking without losing her balance.
Which only made things worse.
When she reached near-fall number six, Alvin finally hooked his arms under her legs and heaved her onto his back. For a moment, she was too stunned to make any sort of response, but when he started moving, she clung desperately to his neck as she feebly kicked her legs in discomfort.
"I'm fine Alvin," She protested instantly, "I was just starting to get the hang of it."
"If by 'getting the hang of it' you mean about to kill yourself for the thousandth time, then I agree."
"Just put me down! This is so embarrassing…"
"What's so embarrassing about having your boyfriend carry you, huh? Besides, I don't want you to fall and break your pretty face; that would be too much of a tragedy."
No matter how Leia tried to squirm out of it, Alvin just held onto her tighter until she was forced to resign herself to the situation. As she leaned into his back, her mind was quick to inform her that if she didn't want them to appear like siblings, she was doing an even worse job – piggy-back rides were ten times more childish than a height difference.
Plan B: ended up only making the situation worse.
Plan C (walking on her tip-toes everywhere) and Plan D (stilts) were also quickly foiled by Alvin. With every new plan, he would watch her for a few minutes before once more scooping her onto his back and refusing to let her go until she stopped her current course of action. Leia was pretty sure that he was doing it partially to patronize her, which only drove her to pursue her ideas even more relentlessly. One of them was bound to work.
Somehow, it had become a nightly ritual for her to wait for Alvin to fall asleep before she crept out of bed and began to brainstorm her next big plan. It was day three of being hopelessly stuck on an idea for Plan E that she felt a pair of arms wrap around her shoulders and a chin rest on her head.
"And what exactly are we doing up at this hour? Bedtime was a long time ago for kids like you."
At the sound of his voice, a flush of embarrassment crossed Leia's features as she hastily crumpled the paper she had been writing her ideas on.
"Nothing," She responded far too hastily for an innocent individual, "Shouldn't an old man like you be getting all the sleep he can?"
"Ah, but it was impossible for me to sleep without the presence of my dear cheeky teenager next to me."
"Alvin, we sleep in different beds."
"Is that an invitation to change that?"
"Ouch. Shot down without even a thought."
Leia vocalized no response, instead choosing to snuggle into Alvin's embrace. All around them, the night was permeated only by the gentle sound of their breathing; Leia had to admit that she would put up will all kinds of teasing from Alvin if she got to enjoy these little moments of intimacy. As her eyes grew heavy and her entire body relaxed, she decided that she would take the time and enjoy this; Plan E could be figured out tomorrow.
"So we're on to Plan E now, are we? I thought you had only gone through three of your little 'be taller' schemes."
"Plan A was to grow taller naturally, but I stopped growing a few years ago."
"So you didn't think to eat a whole bunch of foods that are supposed to help you grow?"
"Well we're living in Trigleph; I don't know what kinds of foods are good for growing."
"Makes sense I guess."
It was at this moment that Leia's brain finally registered the exchange that had just occurred between the two of them. He eyes shot open and she rather forcefully extracted herself from Alvin's embrace. All of her comfortable tiredness was replaced with flushed embarrassment as she looked horrified at the mercenary. He had known what she was doing.
For his part, Alvin was smirking as the paper he had just stolen from Leia dangled in his hands. Embarrassment fueling her actions, she swiped the paper from his hands and pushed it against her chest so he wouldn't be able to see it any longer.
"You…knew?" She asked in a voice little more than a mortified whisper.
"Well of course. You weren't exactly great at hiding your little scheme you know."
"But…but still, it wasn't that obvious!...Right?"
"Leia, you couldn't have made it more obvious if you tried."
"Then why did you let me keep doing it?!"
"Because it was cute."
Suddenly, there was a wad of paper smacking him right between the eyes. It took Leia's brain several seconds to catch up with her body and realize that she was the one who had thrown the paper.
"Sheesh," Alvin complained as he rubbed at the bridge of his nose, "It's your fault for not hiding what you were doing better. Why exactly were you trying to be taller anyways?"
His question made her falter and suddenly she was averting her gaze as she hastily picked up the paper she had thrown. She expected Alvin to crack a joke at any moment to break the tension, but he remained silent. The two of them had been together long enough for her to realize what that meant – it was time to stop playing around and answer. A heavy sigh escaped her lips as she searched for the right words.
"I was…worried. I mean, you call me a 'cheeky teenager' all the time and what if that's all people see us as – a guy who has his annoying kid sister tagging along with him. I don't know, it just bothered me."
Silence fell once more and Leia was about to make a hasty apology when suddenly, Alvin's arms were wrapped around her middle, raising her from the ground. A squeak of surprise escaped her lips as she found herself on eye level with Alvin. His eyes were hard and serious, something she rarely saw from him.
"What are you-"
The end of her question was stolen away as he pressed his lips onto hers. For a moment, she was too thrown-off balance to reciprocate, but the feeling quickly passed as she began to kiss in return. The feeling of headiness from his lips on hers was only increased by the fact that her feet were dangling a few inches above the ground as Alvin held her aloft.
When the two of them broke apart, Alvin still held her and forced her to meet his gaze. The seriousness had melted away to be placed with a familiar playful glint. Leia found herself smiling back as her misgivings began to melt away. Their height difference didn't matter; what mattered was that they loved one another.
"So what do you think of the view from up here?" Alvin asked jovially, "Personally I find it to be kinda bland."
"Hm, you may be right," Leia responded as she looked away from Alvin's face and surveyed the room, "I think I might just like my shorter view point."
"Glad that I could bring you around to my way of thinking," he replied as he lowered her to the ground once more, "Now how about that sharing the same bed that we were discussing earlier. Think I could bring you around to my way of thinking on that?"
The only response he got was a too powerful to be playful punch on the arm before Leia dove into her own bed and pulled the blankets up over her head. A bemused smile crossed his features, but he dutifully crawled into the bed across the room from hers.
To his surprise, he woke up the next morning to Leia curled up against him, breathing deeply as she slept.