Short ☆ Tales of the Abyss

Character/Pairing: Guy Cecil, Emperor Peony, Jade Curtiss
Prompt: Written for an old Abyss Secret Santa back in LJ days
Date Written: 28/01/2008

Guy had always been terribly polite. He couldn’t help it, it was in his nature. It didn’t matter what could have possibly happened in the past, present or even future that could have sapped that away. So when he re-found his roots that he was nobility, he didn’t know what to feel. Guess he was so used to living under somebody else that being his own boss was a little tough. Not … that it was hard, he just needed to get used to it again.

However, it seemed like no time at all had passed when Emperor Peony himself asked if he could start looking after his rappigs for him. Having met the Emperor on a few occasions, Guy knew how much the rappigs meant to him and was purely honored to be asked to look after them. It was simple enough work. He walked them, made sure they were fed and had plenty of water. Grooming was usually left to Peony unless he had no time. The man loved his rappigs after all.

This routine lasted for quite a long time and Guy loved the cycle. Wake up, work with the rappigs, break for lunch, play with them a bit more and then go home. Plus, Peony was quite pleased with the work he did everyday so he always called Guy back.

So it came to no surprise when Guy showed up at the palace on another regular day. The guards greeted him with a nod or a slight bow (which he still felt odd about) and the rappigs were where they always were. Guy knelt down beside Nephry and scratched behind her ear with a smile. Glancing about the messy room, he assumed the Emperor was gone as normal and went about to ensure they had their fresh water and food.

He was filling up their dish with a bucket when the door slammed open and Guy nearly dropped it. He clutched the edges of it tightly and straightened. He blinked at the sight and gave the man in the doorway an odd look. “Your Majesty. I thought you’d be off on your duties today.”

Peony waved at him with a bit of a bored expression. “I’m off everyday on duties a five year old version of me could solve. I thought I’d pop in to see how you were.”

“I’m fine, Your Majesty.” Guy smiled and gave him a slight bow as he turned back to finish filling the dish.

When he was just about finished, the Emperor popped up beside him and placed a hand on his back. He wasn’t sure if that had any point to it at first until Peony started to leaned against it and Guy was forced to his knees under the pressure. He flinched slightly since he didn’t want to come off as rude by just plainly telling the Emperor to bugger off so he swallowed and looked up at him as he set the bucket aside. “Your Majesty, may I request that you-“

“No time for ramble today, Guy.” Peony interrupted, his hand now patting Guy on the head. Rather like a puppy more then a human being. Guy didn’t let it bother him. “Today, I have a new job for you. Not that my precious rappigs aren’t important but I have something else for you to do. They can manage on their own for a bit, I’m sure.”

Guy went to get to his feet but Peony still had his hand on his head and was still patting him. The trouble with Peony was that one could never tell if he was doing something intentionally or if he was doing it without thinking. Guy preferred to think better of the Emperor.

“What’s that, Your Majesty?” Guy questioned, his voice even and still pleasant.

Peony looked down and stopped his patting. He gave Guy an odd look that was quickly followed by a look of mockery. “What are you doing down there? I thought I just said we didn’t have time to waste? I thought you listened better then that.”

Guy said nothing in hopes of creating no ill will toward him. The nobleman rose to his feet and brushed at his knees before looking back to Peony. “Forgive me, Your Majesty. But … what am I doing?”

“You’re going to follow me around. All day. Won’t that be pleasant? Now, lets go before the guards notice I’m not where I’m supposed to be.” Peony grabbed at his shirt and gave it a tug to indicate he was leaving.

He really didn’t give Guy a chance to think. Follow him around? What use was that going to do?

“You’re going to have to walk faster then that to keep up, Guy. Lets go, hop to it.” Peony called and the nobleman had to speed walk, not noticing he’d fallen that far back at all. He hadn’t noticed Peony left yet either.

Soon, they were walking side by side but Guy was still confused. What use was he going to be to the Emperor? Sure this was an honor as well but-

“Alright, so our first order of business is to go see how Jade’s doing. He must be terribly lonely in that office all alone with the mountains of paperwork and unwanted guests.” Peony spoke suddenly.

“… Sir?” Guy questioned, not wanting to think ill but he couldn’t help ponder the thought that Peony probably fell into that category of unwanted guests.

“Jade, Guy. Jade. Aren’t you listening? I must let you spend too much time with my rappigs. You can’t even socialize well anymore.” Peony commented and Guy fell silent. He didn’t mean to come off as rude.

“My humblest apologies, Your Majesty, I was only thinking.” Guy bowed his head as Peony stopped abruptly.

Peony pointed. “Alright, you see that door right there? I’m going to go through there and out a window,” Guy looked panicked but Peony waved at him. “It’s ground level, don’t worry. Just if I go out the front door, somebody is going to sweep me back into the throne room and I really don’t want to be there right now. I’m tired of that room. Same statues, same picture window, same uncomfortable pillar of authority.”

Guy snickered but he tried to cover it up. Emperor Peony really wasn’t too keen about this castle.

“Are you listening again? Good. Now, you can just go right out the front door without question but I want you to round about the castle and meet me on the east side. Behind the bushes by the third window. Got it? Third window, very important.”

Guy scratched the back of his head, trying to process if he was doing something good or bad. He was helping the Emperor skip out on his duties. He sighed and made sure to give Peony a small look that showed he disapproved and then nodded. “Third window. Understood.”

“Perfect. Now scoot.” Peony waved him off and they parted ways.

Sure enough, Guy got out of the castle with no problem but he had to give an excuse that he forgot to bring something along to one of the guards who questioned why he was leaving so soon. He felt bad for lying, especially over something so stupid. Ahh, had he said stupid? No, no, he couldn’t think ill. This was the Emperor. He knew what he was doing.

Third window, third window, third windo- ah ha. Bushes didn’t move on their own on such a calm, sunny day. Making certain nobody saw him (this side of the castle was always empty) and he too slipped behind the bush.

“Brilliant.” Peony whispered. “You’re quicker then I thought. Now for the second half.”

There was a second half? Guy blinked only and remained quiet. Oh dear …

“Swap clothes with me.” And when those words left his lips, Guy didn’t find any need to hold back the idiotic look.

“What? I- What? No. I mean … Your Majesty … why?”

Peony rolled his eyes like this was the simplest thing ever. “Because I could get caught. I don’t exactly blend in.”

“Neither would you in my clothes … sir.” He added, still looking completely revolted. Like he’d give up his clothing for such a stupid task. He could visit Jade any old time.

Peony paused for a moment and looked at him with a straight face. “Are you disobeying me?” He questioned quietly but it had a certain tone to it that Guy couldn’t pick out. Maybe it was just regular authority … ?

Guy hesitated. Well .. He was – technically- but he didn’t want to give up his clothes. Think fast, think fast …

“Of course not, Your Majesty. I just don’t believe you’d fit in my clothing.”

“What are you talking about? We’re practically the same size, now hurry up. Let’s go.”

“But-“

“Come on, Guy. If it’s privacy you’re worried about, you can take that bush over there. The longer you stall, the less likely this plan is to work and you’ll have changed for nothing.”

Guy turned his head like he was going to obey but his feet wouldn’t move. This was just plain humiliating. “Sir, I really think that you should just be doing your normal duties. Then we wouldn’t have to deal with this situation.”

“Your attempts to weasel out of this are very weak. Now strip.” Peony demanded, but he didn’t appear to be losing patience. “Don’t worry, I’m not leaving you here naked. You’ll be wearing my clothes. See the trick?”

So I can get busted instead of you, oh yes I see the trick. I’ll be bashed on by the guards like crazy and they’ll never let me live it down- Guy halted his thought and nearly grew pale. Ahh, no he was going off again. The Emperor knew what he was doing …

It took a while but eventually both of the men emerged from there separate bushes, wearing opposite clothes. Guy couldn’t stop playing with the pants (terrified they were going to slip off) and Peony was having far too much fun admiring himself.

“How do I look?” He asked finally, turning and placing his hands on his hips, much like a Guy pose.

The noblemen tried not to flinch at the sight. “… Different.” He chose the word carefully. He really didn’t think this was going to work, did he? He had way too long of hair and it was a different shade of blond then Guy’s and sure they were almost the same size but any idiot up close would notice the change! He felt guilty but he didn’t take back the thought. The Emperor knew what he was doing, but he was an idio- no, no not an idiot. Just … lack of logic. Scatter brained.

“Good enough. Now don’t go giving away that you aren’t me.” Peony proceeded to list off numerous tips that could help Guy act just like Peony from point A to point B. The building was how many steps away and it was that important to do so many things at once- he cut himself off. Thinking was just getting him upset and he couldn’t afford to lose patience with this little routine. The faster this happened, the quicker he could get his clothes back and the sooner he could just go home.

Guy closed his eyes when Peony finally shut up and turned to start walking away. He rubbed his eyes and gave a sigh. He had to show respect. He had to remain cool headed.

They had barely walked any distance at all and they were already at the Military base. This was terrible. Since Guy was playingEmperor, he had to walk in front like he was the royalty. When he walked straight into the building, he nearly caved on the inside from the terrible humiliation. The guards here probably thought him an idiot and they were probably laughing at him right now.

Peony greeted a few people happily, who looked from him to Guy with looks of either surprise or pure amusement. Guy really wasn’t ever going to live this down. And once they got to Jade’s office- oh no. Jade. He’d probably be the worst of all. Those judgmental eyes, that mocking smirk and that damn memory. He’d be the worst of all for never letting Guy live this down. Ever. Forever ever.

“Your Majesty-“

“Almost there, keep up the pace. Don’t slow down, what are you doing?” Peony questioned when Guy had started to walk slower and slower like he was walking into his own death bed.

“I’m coming … your Majesty. I’m coming.” He mumbled and gave a sigh that he was sure Peony heard but wouldn’t care about.

Peony was way ahead of him and it was a few minutes before Guy found himself in front of Jade’s office door. He looked at it accusingly, like if he glared at it long enough, it would feel guilty. He was wondering if he could just leave when the door swung open and Guy nearly got nailed in the nose.

“Gods, you’re slow. I thought you were known for being quicker. In, in.” Peony rushed him, grabbing him by the shirt and pulling him in. The door closed and Guy felt like that was his last chance to get away. Gone, just like any hope he had for this being a decent adventure.

“You really did drag him all the way here.” Jade’s voice practically stabbed him in the heart and Guy wanted to melt into the floor.

Peony hummed and suddenly his face appeared before Guy’s. Very close. Too close. Way too close.

“What?” The tone that smothered that single word sounded terribly annoyed but Guy didn’t seem to notice it had come out as such.

“You don’t look well. Are you feeling sick?” Peony questioned.

Sick? “Ahh, yes. Very sick. Very, very … very sick. Contagious even. My illness is probably very contagious.” Guy mumbled quietly.

Peony made a disgusted face. “And you’ll get it all over my clothes too …”

Jade gave a sigh and shook his head. “maybe you should just go home.” He suggested and it almost sounded like a bit of pity was laced in his voice. If anybody could know how out of hand Peony could get, it was Jade.

Guy tried not to look or sound excited. “Yes, maybe I should.”

“You can return those to me after. Make sure you wash them first.” Peony instructed and waved him away once again. Guy bowed deeply and left without another word. Rather quickly, in fact.

Jade shook his head again and sat down in his chair once more. “I thought you were joking.”

“I never joke.” Peony protested, clearly amused since he was grinning from ear to ear. “And I must say, this time I have outdone myself.”

“Indeed.” Jade replied shortly and tried his best to ignore Peony. Like that would work.

The Emperor leaned down, resting his crossed arms on Jade’s desk. He glanced at the door and looked back. “He caved a lot faster then I thought he would. It’s a real pity.”

“No surprise there.”

Peony grinned. “Are you finally admitting how much better I am at this game then you?”

Jade didn’t even look up. “Nobody can stand to be around you for that long.”

“Exactly!” Peony agreed rather quickly and then slowly reality slipped back into his mind. “… Wait.”

FIN ★ ☆ ★ Constructive critique always welcome!