Categories > Games > Final Fantasy X-2 > The Confessional - Continued

Part Five

by Ikonopeiston 0 reviews

The story continues as Nooj and Paine grow ever closer.

Category: Final Fantasy X-2 - Rating: R - Genres: Drama - Characters: Nooj, Paine - Warnings: [X] - Published: 2005-06-14 - Updated: 2005-06-15 - 2463 words

The Confessional

Part Five:

Oddly enough, I did not sleep well last night. I had thought I would but the events at the pool kept playing again and again in my mind and I was wakeful. Pleasantly so, but I am tired this morning. And curious to see how Paine will react to me today and if the other two will notice anything different about us. They seemed to be asleep when we returned to the camp. I suppose we should have come back separately and not have embraced before we went to our beds. Since they appeared asleep, I didn't see anything wrong but now I wonder if they were only feigning and watched us as we returned. I had no difficulty in seeing they had been together that first time. Why should I think the Al Bhed is any less aware than am I? Well, it can't be changed now so we must wait and see how the dynamics play themselves out.

It is not yet dawn. I have time to finish this entry and to get ready for the day before they wake. Why did Paine come to me last night? Why did she offer herself unmistakably from almost the first time we met? I do not deceive myself I am so desirable no woman can resist me. That wasn't the case even before I met the Sin spawn which made me a cripple and a freak. There must be a reason she permitted me to possess her, a reason she caressed me so warmly. It may be she was as hungry as I; she could have been maneuvered into a state of celibacy and, noting Gippal and Baralai were involved with one another, have seen me as her only source of release. Or she may be one of those who naturally gravitates to the alpha dog in any pack in order to secure the protection she thinks she needs. Or maybe she has heard this is the way to advance in the military - crawl into the bed of successive officers - sleep your way to the top and all the perquisites attendant upon being the leader's whore. Why am I thinking this way? Why can't I accept we are two private people who have found something of value in one another? Why must I see no good anywhere and assume everyone has a vile motive for every action? ... Because it is more often true than not.

I will wait and see her reaction when she wakes. I have had enough experience to know when a woman has been made happy in my arms and when I have just been used for what I can offer as a bed mate. I will look into those red eyes and see why she arched herself against me and purred, why her nipples pressed like firm finger-tips against my chest. ... I am becoming aroused again. It is time to stop this and go wash. The sun will rise soon and I must be in control by then.

That was surely one of the most difficult interviews I have ever conducted. In order to complete my effort to know personally all three of the recruits for whom I have been made responsible, I resolved to have a long talk with Baralai this morning. To that end, I told Gippal to take Paine off to the firing range he had set up and coach her in her use of her weapon. Baralai, of course, started to follow them when they left until I ordered him back. A pouting, sulky expression is not attractive on a woman; on a man, it is disgusting. So I slapped him and he started to cry.

In the name of Yu Yevon on a petard, I didn't hit him that hard. There was only a faint outline of my palm on his cheek and I hit him with my good hand. If it had been the machina one, he might have had reason to sob like an infant. His nose turns red when he cries. And he blubbers. When I threatened to do worse, he finally shut up and sat huddled at my feet like a whipped cur.

When I had yanked him upright, I began my lecture. Ixion alone knows how much penetrated that immature mind. He claims to be of age but I find it hard to believe. His every move and gesture gives the impression he should be back suckling at his mother's teat rather than getting ready to kill fiends and Sin spawn. I think the other three of us will be better off if we tell him to just stay in camp and keep things tidy for us. He can do little dances and sing for us while we rest from the day's fighting. Oh, he can shoot all right but will he when the target is alive and moving toward him? I find no taste for killing in the boy. And without that appetite, he won't last long on a battlefield. Crying! Huh!

It is a capital mistake to confuse the ability to do something with the willingness to do it. I learned that when I was as raw as this child. Let's see, he's failed at being a priest and is on the verge of failing to be a Warrior. What will he choose to fail at next? Always assuming he survives his first day of live arms training.

I gave him the dagger I had managed to acquire the last time I was at the main camp and explained its purpose. He seemed to think I expected him to immediately plunge it into his heart so I had to slowly and carefully walk him again through the ways to store a knife like that and when to use it and how. I hope he understood and won't miss the vital spot if the time comes he needs to make a quick exit. I've done my best by him. Most commanders would have thrown him out as soon as the first tear hit the cheek. Bah!

I have wasted my time in giving him a personal interview and I am no closer understanding him personally than I was before I met him. He will not talk to me. I cannot tell why he will not open up to me and let me see what he's made of. He seems comfortable enough with Paine whom he has known for even less time than he has known me. They seem to understand one another oddly well for relative strangers. They're always exchanging knowing glances - like a couple of girl friends. Note to self: ask Paine what they talk about at the next opportunity.

For the first time since I was injured, I find myself thinking about my less acceptable pastimes while I was in the Crusaders. I had to fight back the impulse to exercise some of the more elementary ones on that amber face with the tears and snot running down it. Control is everything; I must remember that.


Gippal and Paine are taking their time getting back. It is not that I am worried at all. I know where Gippal's proclivities lie. It is just ... Hell! I do not like her being alone with him. He is entirely too dashing, too romantic, too appealing. He shoots too well and has too many skills for an honest man. ... This is not acceptable. I am a sensible man who is responsible for these three neophytes. I must keep my attention on the main objective. There Baralai goes, off to the tent, sniffling again. At least he has the knife properly lodged in his boot top. Unless he has stuck it in his calf, which is not all that unlikely.

I am going to sharpen this dagger I found for Paine. She may not know how to do it and a sharp blade is less painful than a dull one. It is of some comfort to recollect Gippal is short. Not really any taller than Paine herself.

Everything is finally getting straightened out again. It has been a hectic afternoon with news from the Maesters, another awkward interview and more misunderstandings all around.

To begin with, the postings for who sails when have been put up. As I had expected we will be amongst the last to leave this place, embarking on the ninth day of the month. That's six days from now, only a little over half a week. This means we will have time to continue practicing our marksmanship and exercising to improve our stamina. With the adjustments to the leg, I shall try walking further without my cane and work on erasing the limp. Maybe Gippal ...

That brings me to the next point. Gippal. He was in a towering rage after he talked to his leman. At one point I thought he was going to try to hit me. I could see his fists balled and the fire in his eye. Naturally, it was beneath my dignity to either explain what happened between Baralai and me or to take note of Gippal's near insubordination. I just stood and observed, not bothering to listen to the intemperate words emerging from his mouth. It did not take long for him to realize the foolishness of what he was doing. I could watch the knowledge creep across his face. He knows I am his ticket to success in the military. If he is ever to lead a force to take revenge for the destruction of his people and his home, it must be through my intervention. He recognizes that; it will keep him on the leash.

And there is something else. The Al Bhed is besotted with the desire to further explore what was done to me. To investigate more deeply the way in which the machina have been incorporated into my flesh. He looks at the areas where the arm and the leg join the remaining parts of me in much the same manner I look at Paine's breasts behind her leather harness. So the man is twice bound to my service and will obey me until he gets his desires. Now I know how far I can push him.

Baralai continues to avoid me and to cradle his cheek whenever he thinks someone is looking. He'll get over it when he's dodging fiends. Paine is in high spirits, boasting about her improved shooting. At first she looked concerned about the undercurrents swirling among us but she seems untroubled now. We have exchanged glances and silently agreed to meet at the same place tonight. Satisfactory.


It is not easy to remember that only a day ago I was being tormented by visions of the legs of Baralai bouncing in the air. Now, it is the graceful limbs of Paine which fill my mind and memory. This night we talked after our more urgent needs had been met. She is a most complete woman.

She is like a dryad, a water spirit by the pool. The moisture beading on her skin bejewels her body as though she has been strewn with crystals and gems. Her short hair defines her head, that elegant skull with the delicate bones. I can look at her forever in the moonlight. Strangely, she does not turn her eyes from my misshaped body but returns my gaze with honesty and acceptance. I think it is her attitude which makes me able to perform as well as I do. Without such approbation I fear I would be impotent or at least inadequate. Ah, I am due some good fortune after the events of the last half year. Still, it is a small miracle that Paine came into this army and was assigned to this team at exactly this time.

She thinks of Baralai as a brother, one a little helpless in the big world, one who shares many of her interests. She feels protective toward him and thinks he will not do well in the coming trials. Gippal makes her laugh. He plays the fool for her and has shown her how to hold her gun more securely and shoot more accurately. He's like a big brother - she says. There is no reason for me to feel jealous. She teases and suggests I study with Gippal. My lack of skill did not escape her scarlet gaze.

She is inventive in the ways of love. Her hands and mouth are clever, more adroit than those of any woman I have known before. Nothing that creates passion is alien to her - nor now, to me. She is teaching me things I never thought of, not with all my years of experience with women of all races and types. She is as agile and flexible as a snake, wrapping herself around me, cool and warm at once. I am finding her to be addictive. And, I must add, there are things I can teach her. Things that seem to please her. We are well matched in our appetites and skills.

Now, I am worrying about how we will manage in the close quarters of a ship and a tent. I feel sure we can locate hidden places in the ship for trysts but they won't be these long, leisured explorations of one another which are so fulfilling now. And those small tents. If we are sent to a place of forests and such, we may be able to find safe havens of privacy away from the sight of the other recruits. No sense in planning until I know what the conditions will be. It is a capital error to theorize without information. I know that. What I do not know is if Gippal and Baralai have noticed our relationship. The Al Bhed would have to be much stupider than I think he is not to have seen what is happening. The Yevonite is probably too self absorbed to notice if we pleasured one another in his own sleeping bag.

Life is becoming more complicated. I am faced with the necessity of arranging both my personal privacy to continue this journal and a larger privacy in order to join with Paine. I can do it. I have come this far from the half-man the Sin spawn left on that distant battlefield. I can go the rest of the way. Yet I must never forget I am marked for death, even now. With Paine, I can live as intensely as possible in these last days or weeks before I find my place to die. And she will help me keep my demons at bay.


I have swallowed my pride and asked Gippal for a morning's coaching in the art of marksmanship.

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