Having acquired a strong distaste for taverns, Sabin rarely found himself inside them. What had possibly brought him to such a location was beyond him even as his feet set through the door. The blond was out of place with the usual bar crowd, blue eyes scanning the insides for the person who had called him here. Where was that hustler in the first place, he thought as he walked further into the throng of drunkards singing the praises of the local brew.
This place is disgusting…
“Did you try looking behind you old friend?” a voice laced with amusement called out from behind Sabin, forcing the blond to spin around and stare at his friend.
Setzer laughed before patting the fighter’s shoulder. “Sabin you’ll look like quite the fool if you stand there with your jaw hanging open like that. How will you ever continue the bloodline if you act like that?”
Earning a scowl from Sabin, Setzer laughed brightly before tossing a small sack of gold coins to the barkeep. “Your best room good Sir Barkeep.”
“Why are we going upstairs?” Sabin asked stupidly. He honestly had no clue why he’d been called here. If it was for a good chance to stab at his ego, the blond would gladly drive his fist into the gambler’s face.
“We can talk in private upstairs,” Setzer replied with a wink before leading the princeling upstairs.
“Talk in private about what?” Sabin pressed again, still acting like a naive child. His floundering was awarded with a chuckle as the gambler rewarded his pressings with a sly, catlike grin.
“You’ll just have to see my friend.”
“Setzer quit playing games and tell me already!”
“It’s not what you’re thinking,” Setzer replied with a sly wink as the two continued walking through the corridor. Setzer had a surprise for Sabin, a surprise that he wasn’t likely to forget anytime soon.
“I have a surprise for you,” he explained as his boots stopped in front of a door near the end of the hall. “But you have to close your eyes.”
“Uh… okay…” Sabin said, not questioning why he had to close his eyes but did so quickly. “This better not be some stupid joke…”
“Oh no no, it won’t be any type of joke. I think you’ll like this surprise muchly.” Setzer returned with mirth in his voice. He hadn’t really wanted to help play a part in the grand scheme but it was just too ripe a part for the great Setzer Gabbiani to pass up. He took the hands of the buffoon before him, letting the door creak open, leading the blond into the center of the room.
Looking over Sabin’s shoulder, Setzer winked at the green haired woman sitting in a chair next to the fireplace. His feet shuffled toward the door before he called out through a half closed door, “Okay, you can open your eyes now Sabin!”
Sabin’s eyes opened to see a head of green hair and eyes that matched almost perfectly as he headed for the door, his face turning a deep shade of crimson in the process. “Oh shiiiiit… not this, not now…”
“SETZER I’M GOING TO KILL YOU FOR THIS!”
“Sabin… please don’t be mad at Setzer. I asked him to do this.”
“Why here?” he demanded harshly.
“Well…” Terra began carefully, knowing that anything could set the blond off. “I just wanted to apologize…”
“Apologize for what? You didn’t do anything wrong. You’d be better off with someone else anyway.”
“How do you know?” she spoke up bravely.
“Edgar could take care of you better than I could. Why would you wanna be with a simpleton when you could live in the lap of luxury? You and the kids would be perfectly safe. I wouldn’t want any of you dying from exposure up in the mountains.”
“I didn’t mean for Edgar to kiss me in front of you. I thought he was kidding when he said he’d have to kiss me. I swear Sabin, I didn’t know he was going to do that. I’m sorry if it hurt your feelings. We haven’t heard from you in weeks and everyone’s worried; especially Edgar. You didn’t see him for ten years and then one thing goes wrong and you just decide to vanish?”
“It seemed easiest at the time…” Sabin trailed off. “Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea.”
“Of course it wasn’t a good idea! You should at least go home and talk to him about this. There has to be a way to work this out right?” Terra questioned her friend, praying, hoping that this would all work out in the end. They were like her older brothers and hated it when her surrogate family fought over such trivial matters as a kiss. “Edgar apologized to me for what he did. Please go back to Figaro and talk to him about it?”
Sabin sighed, realizing that leaving hadn’t been smart. It had been a couple of months since he’d left and the anger he’d felt on that night had long since dissipated.
“Edgar was drunk when he did it I’ll have you know.” Setzer injected as he cracked the door open to check on the two.
“See, you should go back.” Terra said with a smile as she walked past Sabin and toward the gambler.
“And what if I refuse?”
Terra hadn’t really given his inadvertent refusal any thought as her fingers tapped her lips. What would she do in the case that he’d refuse to return home with her? How could she possibly convince this free-spirited bear of a human being to return to a place that would make him feel caged? “What could I do to convince you to come back? Everyone’s worried Sabin!”
“Why should I care about that?” he sighed.
“Maybe you should start,” Setzer chimed in from outside.
“Stay out of this hussler!”
“Such big words, oh my…” the gambler teased.
“Why I oughta…” Sabin growled at the door. “If you don’t leave…” he began to threaten, his fist balled in preparation to punch the door before a pair of arms curled around his own, pulling back.
“If you’re going to hit anybody then hit me for starting this,” Terra challenged.
“If you’re going to hit anyone than hit me. I’m the one who wanted this. I’m the one who came to get you.”
“If I hit you, I’d have half the castle after me wanting my head! I can’t go hitting women…”
It was around this time that the two of them realized that their hands had twined together. Almost together, the two looked from their arms to the slowly reddening faces of each other, arms untwining. Silently, as they both bumped into a table or a chair, Sabin and Terra backed away from each other, the blushes creeping down from their foreheads to chins.
“No! Absolutely not!”
“Okay, good! I’m glad!” Terra returned a little too quickly as she sat down in the chair she’d plowed into. None of them being silly and childish, nor holding… hands… “We did, didn’t we?”
Sabin’s head hung in shame, debating about taking the table and throwing it out the window. The piece of furniture was terribly tacky anyway and cluttered the room. “Oh God… not a word of this to Edgar!”
Terra had been about to agree to Sabin’s idea when several gales of laughter assailed their ears. Sabin flung the door open like it was an old toy to see Setzer leaning against the wall. There were tears in his eyes from laughing so hard, an arm wrapped around his midsection, doubled over in humour. “You two… are too much…” he breathed out before bursting out into a raucous round of laughter.
A thick, calloused hand was wrapped in the cloth of the gambler’s newest silk shirt as Sabin pulled the man off the floor to stare the Princeling in the eyes. “You utter a word of this to anybody and I swear to the Gods of this planet…”
“Oh no no,” Setzer replied, his hands shaking as he continued laughing (although with quite a few overtones of nervousness). “I wouldn’t dare tell a soul!”
“Good.” Sabin muttered, his fist freeing itself of the puffy shirt, firmly dropping Setzer to his feet before he brokenly went about smoothing out the wrinkles in his shirt. Another shirt ruined by his mouth. His purse would cry after the fitting and tailoring of the third shirt that week.
“Sabin where are you going?” Terra called, starting to race after the blond as he descended the steps.
“The Falcon,” he replied, pausing briefly. “Are you coming Setzer?”
Sighing greatly, the gambler gave up on the lost cause that was his shirt, his feet falling in a close rhythm to his companions. “You’d better be replacing your shirt…”
“Why?” Terra asked innocently. “You’ve got a whole closet full of shirts on the airship.”
Setzer coughed harshly, a scarred hand patting Terra on the head before he brushed past the two of them. “You don’t need to know what is in those closets, my dear. They wouldn’t suit you.”
She smiled at him, her naivety coming through like a punch to the stomach. “If you say so.”
The trip to the desert kingdom had been uneventful as Figaro Castle loomed on the horizon. The great parapets on the Eastern wall set their sights on the airship before they spotted the familiar crest. “Ho, Master Gabbiani!” a guard bellowed into the wind.
“We’re coming in, alert the King!” Setzer roared back.
“Maybe we should go back…” Sabin suggested meekly.
“Don’t tell me the mighty lobster is terrified of his brother?”
“That’s not it!”
“Then what is it?” Terra asked gently, a hand placing itself on top of Sabin’s.
“Stop being a coward and face me like a man,” a light tenor called into the breeze.
Terra grinned as Setzer smirked. The two turned to face Sabin, wondering what the bear would do. He had never backed off in a fight before so why would an altercation with his brother be any different.
“Go.” Terra and Setzer said in unison to their friend.
“Land this bucket of bolts then. Let’s go.”