The Machine Faction had gone to a lot of trouble to decorate for the new members. [Mild spoilers for the Crimson Squad.]
Looking out from the relative safety of Ollahand's shadow at the number of people milling around the hall, Baralai has to admit "I'm impressed. I didn't think it would work."
When he looked back, Gippal was grinning, although in the flickering light he couldn't tell if it was pride or amusement. Knowing Gippal, probably both. "Names have power. Call something forbidden by a different name and people forget it was ever anything else."
Baralai laughed and peered around the statue again. "I'll bear that in mind."
Gippal was suddenly pressed against him, warm and smelling faintly of oil and hot metal. "Something else to bear in mind." One of Gippal's arms slid around his waist, tugging him back against Gippal's chest and out of sight of the rest of the room. "There's a place for you here if you want it. Always has been."
Baralai had learnt to keep his emotions covered long before the Crimson Squad - a symptom of being brought up in Bevelle. He'd never been more grateful. It meant that he didn't do anything that would give him away - or at least anything that couldn't be covered by turning to kiss Gippal as thoroughly as he could manage, one hand on the back of Gippal's neck to pull him closer.
Something must have given him away though, because when he stepped back, Gippal said "That's a no, isn't it."
Baralai smiled wryly, running his hands across Gippal's chest and resisting the temptation to look at his hands on the fabric instead of Gippal's resigned grin. "You said it yourself, Gippal. Names have power. Praetor Baralai will be more use to us than Baralai of the Machine Faction."
Gippal shook his head, pressing their foreheads together, the leather of Gippal's eye patch warm against his skin. "Just be careful, all right? New Yevon isn't that different from the old Yevon."
Before Baralai could even try to reply to that - he couldn't argue; the only real difference was that as far as he could tell none of the leaders were Unsent - Gippal was steering him out of their hiding place, wearing the grin he used on the small blonde from the Gullwings when he wanted something from her. "But if you're gonna abandon me for a load of old men, you can get out there and start making speeches so I don't have to."
"The offer's still open." Gippal said, clapping Baralai's shoulder. "When it's all over -" Baralai could fill in that gap without thinking: when we've found out what happened, when we know what we saw in those caves. "- you can come back."
Baralai looked out over the crowd of excited, chattering people crowded around the machina - a world away from Bevelle's quiet hallways and whispering acolytes - and laughed, before he grabbed Gippal's arm and started to drag him to the platform where Gippal would be making his speech. Names had power, after all, and it wouldn't make sense not to use it while they had it.