Do you really want him? Then, grab him. Take him. Yaoi. Baralai X Isaaru.
I should be happy, but I'm not. It is rare for the Crimson Squad to have a break, so quite naturally we choose to stay at the Mi'ihen Travel Agency since it is closest to our final destination. Unfortunately, everyone else seems to think the same thing because it feels like all of Spira choose this place too. Not that I blame them, since most of them are Crusaders participating in Operation Mi'ihen. However, the noise is unbearable as it throbs and ebbs through me like a headache. Two things keep me from running off to anywhere but here: my friends, and the presence of a blue robed Summoner. I do not know his name, but I wish to, as I remember how he caught my eye as soon as we walked into this place. Nooj sits across from me, nursing a dark colored drink as though it were his lover. Paine is between Nooj and myself. She doesn't have a drink as she has just finished hers and is waiting for another. Next to me, sits Gippal, who drinks a clear liquid that I know isn't water. In fact, I am the only one in the group who doesn't have an alcoholic drink. I never understood why my friends found it necessary to drink such a thing, but I decide not to bother asking. I have a simple glass of water in front of me, and I keep looking down at the ice as it glistens under the last few rays of the sunlight. I turn it this way and that, watching the ice water slosh around before I finally decide to take a sip. I know it will be sundown in a couple hours.
I am with my friends, everyone is excited, most people have everything they want today and yet I am not happy. It isn't just the crowd, or the constant sounds of various voices, it is the male Summoner who sits at the bar. His two Guardians are in their rooms and he is alone, except for a fellow Crimson Squad candidate. I still do not know the Summoner's name. I wish to. I watch the two men intently, my muscles tensing as the Summoner sizes the fellow Squad member up. I wish the soldier would just go away. I remember how the others went away as the Summoner waved them all off, and I felt a certain satisfaction when they did. I hope that the result would be the same now. How dare anyone try to go after a Summoner! Don't they understand that he is going on a Pilgrimage to bring about the Calm? Don't they realize that I am better suited--no. My grip tightens around the glass of water, but the icy feeling does nothing to alleviate the burning inside of me.
"I'm okay," I tell my friends when they look at me with concern. I am not okay. I feel sick. I look back at the Summoner and I grit my teeth when the soldier puffs up like a prized Chocobo. As if someone so esteemed as the Summoner would ever be impressed by that!
"You know you want me!" The Crimson Squad Candidate says, sounding too sure of himself, which was why I am happy to witness the Summoner take him down a little bit.
"If I had wanted you," he snaps, his voice soft, yet more incisive than a well made sword, "I would have had you a long time ago." The Summoner's voice is a soft tenor and yet I know that he is capable of being heard above anything. It gives me great pleasure. But, the foolish fellow Squad member does not relent and I look at him with disdain. Something I usually don't feel for anyone.
"But, you can have me now!" The soldier replies, and he holds out his arms, expecting the Summoner to just embrace him. I feel nauseous and I roll my eyes. How can people act like that? What do they expect to happen?
"I don't want you!" The Summoner answers, "I don't want you now. I don't want you later. I don't ever want you, so kindly go away."
I am elated to hear this, and I helplessly smile as the Squad member again puffs up, but walks away muttering, "Your loss."
Hmph. I would say it is the Summoner's gain. It is now my chance to finally gather enough courage to go and speak to him, but I am still sitting with my friends as though I am somehow glued to the seat. I know for certain that I'm the only one who is keeping me here, but I feel that I have no choice but to remain until I see that the time is right. But, when would that be? The sun will be going down soon and what would happen then? I do not want to wait too long, but I honestly believe that approaching the Summoner now would be a bad idea. Paine interrupts me from my thoughts, her second drink in her hand. It is a fruit drink with strawberries and cream, but I know it has an alcoholic substance in it.
"That must have been the one hundredth person he's rejected today," she says, looking somewhat amused.
I do not know how many people the Summoner has sent away. I have lost count, but that is one of the reasons why I do not approach him. I would rather not be a statistic, nor do I want to chance being humiliated. Still, if I do nothing, I will never know if I could have him. I just don't know what do, and I hate every second of it. My gaze is drawn to him, to his dark crimson hair tied back with a topknot. I want to walk over there and remove it. I want to see his hair fall over his face. I want to see his face, his eyes, the rest of his robes. Does he wear many layered robes or does he wear only the dark blue grey one that covers his back? What color are his eyes? His skin? How does he sound up close? I have so many questions, they overwhelm me, but I still do not dare approach him. Instead, I just stare at his back, berating myself.
"I'd say at least a million," Gippal replies as he knocks back his own drink. I barely hear it, especially when I discover that some of my questions now have answers.
My eyes widen when the Summoner turns around, looking towards me. I gasp quietly. My goodness, I am enamoured. His face is finely featured, but slightly covered by the red locks that aren't preened into the ponytail. His is indeed wearing more than one robe. The first layer is the dark greyish blue one, but it is sleeveless and lined with sea green. The second is a lighter cerulean, but lined with a light lavender. This one has sleeves, and is trimmed at the ends with yellow and white. The third is completely white and it matches his fingerless gloves. I am not content. I must know more for it seems like every question answered only raises new ones. I cannot see the color of his eyes. I do not know how kissa--um--full his lips are. I do not know if his robes are held together or if they are open. He looks right at me, and my heart misses a beat. I immedietly look away. I begin to curse my cowardice. I could look into his eyes, but I don't.
Nooj looks at me, "You want him?"
Even now Nooj still shocks me. His bluntness almost paralyzes me and I find myself unable to say anything. I wish I could, but I can't seem to. I fear how my friends would respond if I am to say yes.
"I--don't know what you're talking about," I manage to say with as much of a straight face as possible. Nonetheless, my friends see right through me.
"The Summoner?" Gippal asks, but he already knows the answer because I put my hand on my forehead. I have forgotten how to lie properly.
"The Summoner," Paine echoes as she imbibes more of her beverage. She is nodding. She too can read me as though I am an open book. I should learn how to close myself more carefully. I do not want them laughing at me. Nooj continues to stare at me as if he could get through any of my defenses.
"Too bad," he shrugs, "you can't have him."
I almost drop my jaw at Nooj's statement. He says it with such certainty that it infuriates me. My eyes flicker over to the Summoner and I hope that Nooj is only trying to make me more determined and less frightened.
"Forget him," he continues, and I feel betrayed, "he's way out of your league."
I lean forward, "Why do you say that?"
"He's a Summoner," Paine replies, sounding as though that was answer enough. I know what being a Summoner entails, but I am not content with her answer.
"So, what if he is?" I demand. My friends look shocked. I suppose they should be. I don't usually raise my voice, but this isn't a usual situation.
"Come on, Baralai," Gippal shakes his head, just before he tilts back in his seat. He is looking towards the Summoner, but not at him. I honestly don't blame him. The vast majority of the Al Bhed are opposed to Summoners dying to save the world from Sin. "He's a Summoner and Summoners--"
"Die," Nooj finishes. He is looking right at the Summoner, but soon turns his attention to me. "I know Summoners try to live normal lives before their Pilgrimage, but it's possible that the reason why he has rejected so many people is because he doesn't see the point in being with anyone."
"What a load of crap," Gippal argues. "It's not like Baralai wants a relationship," he nudges me. "Right?"
As much as I hate to admit it, my best friend is right, but only because I know that a relationship with the Summoner would hardly be practical since I don't know him. I'd like to get to know him, but I'm still sitting here, hoping I don't lose my opportunity. Taking my silence as agreement, Gippal pats me on the back.
"See? Baralai agrees," Gippal grins and gulps his drink.
"Maybe the Summoner doesn't see a point in that either," Nooj counters.
"No way!" Gippal shakes his head, and I want to vanish because my friend is getting a little too loud for my tastes. I hope the Summoner doesn't hear us. I would gladly die in his stead if he did. "He's a guy!"
"So?" Paine dismisses Gippal's statement with a wave of her gloved hand. "Not every guy has sex on his mind."
"We don't know anything about him," I finally have the courage to speak. "We ought not to be assuming anything."
"Except that he's not afraid of shooting people down," Paine answers.
I agree with this, but only because the Summoner's rejections are proven fact in a crowded Travel Agency. I just hope that if I do get rejected, he would be kind to me. I kick myself. How can I know what he would do if I never go up there? Nooj asked if I wanted him. My answer is yes. I do want him, but I am worried about being hurt. I never had this fear when I met my friends. I surmise that it was because we were all around the same age and in the same "league." Ugh, league. Thanks to Nooj, if I never hear that word again, it would be far too soon. Way out of my league? We'll see. Maybe a little later, but Gippal never gives me a chance for later to come.
"You can't have him just sitting there," he tells me. I know this, and I say so with a simple nod. Gippal leans towards me, "Then, go get him."
Goodness, he makes it sound like shooting a weak fiend. I will myself to say something.
"What if he-"
"No," Gippal cuts me off. "Don't think that way. Go up there knowing that you'll get him. Do you really want him?"
The Al Bhed puts his arm around my shoulders, "Then, grab him. Take him." Paine and Nooj are smiling while they nod. I know they are thinking the same thing.
Again, Gippal makes it sound easy. All my friends make it sound easy. But, unlike myself, all three have little sense of caution. Nooj doesn't care whether he lives or dies, a fact I have always chided him about, but to no avail. Gippal is, I suppose, Gippal. And Paine? She doesn't have Nooj's title of "Deathseeker" or "the Undying", but she's otherwise little different than he is. I prefer to take calculated risks, which is why I don't just saunter up to the Summoner and act like I'm Yevon's gift to him. I certainly do not intend to "grab him and take him". I value my life. However, I know that my friends are right. I'll never have him just sitting here.
"Come on, Baralai," Paine urges me. "The longer you wait, the less likely he'll be there." She is right.
The stool beside the Summoner is still unoccupied, but I do not know how long it will remain that way. I take a few long breaths to still my rapidly beating heart. I can show neither fear nor weakness to the Summoner. I have yet to meet him, but I know that he would pounce if he senses either. If I am to be rejected by him, I want it done knowing that I was strong. I stand up and quietly put one booted foot in front of the other. The Summoner is only around ten paces away, but it feels like ten miles. I go on though, ignoring the stares from those who had already been rejected, ignoring the noise that seems ubiquitous, and ignoring my own doubts. Some people want me to fail, thus becoming another victim of the Summoner. It only increases my resolve.
I have questions. They still linger like the scent of alcohol that is passed all over this Agency. I want to learn about him. I want to study him the way one studies a painting. I want to hear the sound of his voice when he finally tells me his name. I want to know what he feels like when I finally have the courage to touch him.
I want to know him.