I hope you enjoy it, love. *kisses*
Song: "Mmmbop" by Hanson
Pairings: Nooj/Baralai and implied Nooj/Baralai/Gippal
Warnings: It would have to be the catching song warning. Mmmbop is -very- catchy, I think my muses will be proding my mind for WEEKS after this. Also this gets kinda wAFFY at the end so be prepared for that.
"Oh come on now, it will be fun."
That was what Baralai said as they were driving down the streets of Luca in a four-seater hover, with Gippal of course being the pilot while Nooj sat in the front seat effecting a fairly stoic and blaise expression that seemed to be de riquer for him during these moments. Both arms crossed over his broad chest as he surveyed the passing scenary and throng of crowds with the look he got whenever he wanted to close a particular subject.
That was exactly what he was doing right now, avoiding the subject.. or trying to rather.
"I said that we do not have -time- to go cavorting off to kareoke bars, Baralai." Nooj said, fixing his gaze on a point in the horizon and making sure that his eyes didn't stray from it.
"Nooj ec zicd yvnyet uv dra drnaa maddan v-funt" Gippal said with a wry snicker touching upon his lips to which he could not surpress even if he tried, a sparkle coming to the Al Bhed's eyes as he navigated them smoothly through the crowded streets. Luckily though he was trying to keep his hell-bound driving locked up, had it been night with the streets virtually empty he most certainly would of turned the streets into a drag-racing speedway. The comment inspired chuckles from at least two of the occupants.
"You make it sound like I wouldn't be able to understand you, oh great teacher of the Al Bhed language." Nooj said somewhat deadpan.
Finally the sole woman in the hover spoke. Paine sat there, with one arm drapped over the back of the seat while one leg crossed over the other. Perhaps she was just as deadpan as Nooj at times, but she -could- laugh and smile with the best of them, it was all a matter of coaxing her out of her silence.
"We -are- on leave, Nooj. We have all the time in the world, unless of course you have something else equally as fun-filled in your mind for us to do." Paine said, her deep ruby eyes shining warmly and with humor even though the smile did not touch across her lips, only a subtle little half-smirk in its place. All the while Baralai sort of half sat, half stood poised behind the front seats, looking between Nooj and Gippal with eyes that were intently resolute on having a little bit of fun. More importantly having a bit of fun -together-, all four of them.
"Fine. Drop me off at the inn." Nooj said gruffily as he glanced over at Gippal, a lock of honey-brown hair falling in his eyes as he almost challenged Gippal -not- to do it. There was that stubborn tilt to his lips which showed that he was rather grumpy and -not- to be taken lightly. Not that anyone in the group took Nooj -too- seriously. Especially Gippal.
"Sorry, Nooj.. you're shit outta luck." Gippal said with that rather sexy al bhed drawl as he swerved into hover parking space and narrowly missed hitting an old lady. "Because if I didn't prevent you from wandering off I wouldn't get laid for a week and you should know if you -do- wander off, neither will you." Gippal said rather knowingly.
A flush stole over Baralai's cheeks at the subtle innuendo before he squelched it and glanced over at Nooj who was still fuming in the passanger's seat. "You know Nooj, if you do not come in.. I won't mind.." however the word unspoken hovered between the three of them, something that thankfully left Paine out. ~..At least not too much~. It was a guilt tactic of course but it was one that usually always worked on Nooj. It was Baralai being self sacrificing and effacing. "Go on Gippal, drop him off." Baralai said as he fell back against the seat beside Paine looking for the most part defeated.
"But Baralai..." Gippal said, looking over his shoulder at the other boy that sat there, perhaps even more concerned. Usually in situations like these Baralai and him were apt to beat Nooj down until he gave in to their whim but it seemed to be one of those days where Baralai caved just like that. They did not come very often but they did eventually come in response to Nooj's reluctance. Gippal did everyone a favor and kept his mouth closed in response to the whole situation, daring to dart a glance over at Nooj as they pulled to the front of the Luca Inn. Nooj's reaction was fairly mixed... stubborn mixed with reluctance over the unexpected twist in the situation. That set of the jaw twitched almost noticibly.
Gippal once agian repressed the urge to tell Nooj that he was going to die a cold, lonely old man and then said almost archly. "Are you going to get out of the hover, Deathseeker?" Gippal said as he tapped his fingers on the wheel almost impatiently, the glaring after-effects of an fairly obvious attention deficiet disorder.
Nooj was caught between a rock and a hard place, between trying to ressurect his walls and between giving into Baralai. There was one thing that the Deathseeker had in profusion, and that was pride though. That made him open the door to the car and he stepped out, for a specific reason he avoided looking at Baralai, knowing that if he saw those sorrowful golden eyes, he would be moved.. for what reason did the sun have to cry, much less be sad.
"Don't wait up, Nooj... we'll be out late.. having -fun-." Gippal said before he dramatically reved the engine, switched the gear as Paine crawled into the front seat that Nooj had vacated. In a moment they had pulled out, leaving Nooj there to watch after them and feeling perhaps even more out of sorts then he had when they had suggested going to the kareoke bar in the first place. He leaned heavily on his cane and then raised one hand to rub at his temples.
"Why didn't the brats bug me to come along with them like they normally do?" Nooj mused almost painfully as he hobbled inside to the Inn counter in order to procure their rooms for the evening. Making sure to pay for the room and have a key waiting at the desk for Paine's room which was an seperate affair from the two men. But his mind was distracted, distracted with thoughts of what had happened a scant few moments ago. He made his way to their room with the same agonizing slowness, almost too slow for his mindset. Continuing to go over in his mind every single detail of the emotional confrontation.
He then recalled something that Baralai had said back on the Mi'hren Highroad when they had been staying at Rin's Travel Agency. Looking back it made perfect sense.
"Nooj, it is not our responsibility to see that you enjoy yourself. You can only pressure someone into doing something so many times before you have to cut your losses and move on."
And Nooj had to actively think in order to stop that tightening in his throat as the words flowed through his mind, making it seem almost audible.. as if the words could be heard reverberating through this corridoor.
Had Baralai finally given up on him? Had he moved on?
That thought cut downward as his heart sank into his stomach and the seemingly smashed into his spleen, the pain was glaringly physical and he faltered, falling against the doorway though luckily his hands spread out so that the door didn't win this round. The deathseeker was immune to pain, but this.. this pain he was not prepared for as his thoughts weaved possibilities, and possibilities gave birth to assumptions.
Baralai had given up on him.
There was no thought involved in his next course of action. Quickly he shoved the key -back- into his pocket and then started down the corridoor away from the line of rooms with a determination which was no stranger to the man. He continued to hobble over to the machina-powered elevator, stepped inside and then pressed the button that would take him down to the lower floor. After inquiring as to where the kareoke bar was located, he set forth to prove to Baralai that he did not want to be given up on, that he did not want him to stop trying to -save- him.
It was slow going and due to his machina parts, he did not move to the speeds that most people ascribed to. He once again cursed his machina parts but he pressed on. It was almost evening when he reached the kareoke bar and he had enough time to think where his mind had taken on a subtle tinge of emotional desperation that was almost apparant as he stepped into the smoky room and scanned it, trying to locate where Paine, Gippal and Baralai were sitting.
His gaze did not wander too much though for a voice so angelicly sweet assaulted his ears, drawing his gaze to the stage where Baralai was standing, holding a microphone and looking into the screen as he sang. To a mind that had been obsessing for the past hour, that voice was like manna from heaven and he stood there for a few moments listening, soaking up the presence of a man whom he knew that he loved with all that he had to give.
"You have so many relationships in this life
Only one or two will last
You go through all the pain and strife
Then you turn your back and they're gone so fast
And they're gone so fast, yeah
So hold on to the ones who really care,
In the end they'll be the only ones there..
And when you get old and start losing your hair,
Can you tell me who will still care?
It was not a song that Nooj normally liked but someone it struck deeply the chord in him, and he found himself listening to the words as he crept just a little bit closer, his mind dwelling on the man standing on the stage singing and the way he felt. He knew someone that Baralai and Gippal would always be there for him, they only said as much. They were there -anyways- to pester him into being all the things that he thought he wasn't. Most importantly they didn't take him seriously in a world where many people took him entirely too much so.
"Plant a seed, plant a flower, plant a rose
You can plant any one of those
Keep planting to find out which one grows
It's a secret no one knows
It's a secret no one knows...
Oh, no one knows."
Baralai sang into the microphone, a bit of sadness tilting over his lips though he forced a smile on his face. More for Paine and Gippal's benefit since they were the ones he prodded him toward the stage to sing. Mostly to recover from Gippal's rendition of "Lollipop" which had Paine and Baralai pretty much rolling on the floor with laughter since Gippal when he set his mind to it could pantomine the perfect campy gay guy with ease. And he had been pulling out all the stops to make Baralai smile. Unfortunately all Baralai could think about was wanting Nooj to be there to share in this moment. Moments like those happened and when they were gone, well they never came back.
So he had picked up the microphone and lost himself to the music, to the power of the words. Normally shy and avoidant of the spotlight but when pushed, he could pull it off with a bravado that was only apart of his inherent nature.
And that is what he did, carrying the crowd with his singing, causing first Paine and Gippal to clap and then the entire bar followed there lead and started to clap in time with his singing.
"Can you tell me? Oh.
No you can't cause you don't know
Can you tell me? Oh.
You say you can but you don't know.
Can you tell me, Oh,
Which flower's going to grow?
No you can't cause you don't know."
Paine was the first to see Nooj sort of slinking his way toward the stage, and she lightly tugged at Gippal's sleeve and leaned in to whisper. "Hey, look at that.." She murmured in her husky voice and then she pointed over toward Nooj. Gippal was taking a drink of his rum and coke when he saw Nooj getting closer to the stage. He very nearly spit his rum out of his mouth and in the direction of a rather attractive barmaid. Luckily he forced himself to swallow thus avoiding such a catastrophe.
"Well doesn't that beat all. I guess Baralai was right." Gippal said as he set aside his drink and folded his hands together.
"What do you mean?" Paine inquired as she furrowed her brows, drawing her gaze to the Al Bhed who was seemingly calm after that brief choking noise.
"He once told me that if you set something free and it comes back to you.. then it is truly meant to be." Gippal said calmly, his eyes sparkling warmly under smoky lightening. It was evident to see that Gippal was pleased beyond all belief at Nooj's sudden arrival.
"Mmmbop, ba duba dop
Ba du bop, ba duba dop
Ba du bop, ba duba dop
Ba du, yeah
Mmmbop, ba duba dop
Ba du bop, ba du dop
Ba du bop, ba du dop
Ba du, care."
Slowly but surely Nooj made his way to the edge of the stage until he was standing there looking at Baralai singing. Now he was closer to Baralai then anyone and he willed the younger man to look at him, glance his way, see the sorry in his eyes so pronounced drowning in waves of deep chocolate melty-ness. ~Come on, Baralai.. look at me.. I'm here...~
On cue Baralai glanced away from the screen, it was only because he felt a pair of eyes on him that could systematically unsettle him and yet make him melt. His golden eyes turned and made contact with Nooj's and for a long moment they stared as Baralai continued to sing. But then suddenly the golden of his eyes touched his lips.
Nooj was the only one not clapping his hands together. Mainly because flesh against machina did not make the most pleasant of sounds but to conpensate he took his right hand and slowly clapped it against his right leg. In time to the rest of the crowd, his eyes warm and somewhat pleading yet still beautiful in their own way.
That bit of affirmation was all that Baralai needed, he paused in his singing, thrust the microphone toward the somewhat surprised kareoke master and then he hoped down off the stage and all but ran into Nooj's arms, wrapping his arms around the deathseeker's waist and burying his face against that strong chest, inhaling that familar scent of anise.
"You came.." He said muffled, touched beyond all belief as teardrops wet against Nooj's crimson closely fitted flannel shirt.
"I had to Baralai. Please, don't ever give up on me. Don't stop trying to save me.. and please don't stop caring." Nooj's hand reached up to run his fingers through Baralai's white feathered hair, his voice somehow raising over the music that was still playing from the song.
"I won't, Nooj. I promise." Baralai whispered as he looked up at Nooj and then slowly stood on his tip-toes so that he could place a soft kiss against Nooj's lips and thereby moving the crowd in a way that the song had not. Cheers and awe's battling with each other to gain prominance. Of course at the core of the cheering section was Gippal and Paine, cheering at their friends moment of unmitigated sap.
Once the cheering subsided Gippal glanced over at Paine with that arch look that boded mischief.
"Can you tell me? No you can't, cause you don't know." Gippal said with a grin.
"Don't you start getting that song stuck in my head, Gippal." Paine said dryly.
"Well then, whose in for another round of 'Lollipop'."
To which point Paine groaned and fell out of her chair.