"Blah"- Normal Speech
'Blah'- Thoughts

Star Ocean Till the end of time
Silver Stand

Another day was coming to day, the sun beginning its trip toward the horizon, the warms of the day still hanging in the air. Across the land it signaled the end of the official work day, people packing up for the day either heading for the day or to spend their evening in the local tavern to either for a night of revelry or to drown their sorrows.

Seated on a bench located in the Royal Gardens of Castle located in Aquaria the sacred city of Aquios Clair Lasbard was enjoying the warmth of the setting sun, the palace gardens had always been a favorite spot of hers, it always seemed to fill her with a sense of ease at the end of a long day.

"Ah, perfect. Wanna marry my daughter?"

In an instant the silver haired Aquarian maiden's good mood evaporated. Just the memory of her father's words to make her want to curl up in a ball and die of embarrassment.

She knew her father meant well, despite his rough exterior Adray was very much a big softy at heart (especially when it came to her) and he just wanted to know that his little girl would be taken care of when he was gone.

It's just he had all the subtly and grace of a rock.

And worse if all, not that him trying to marry her off wasn't bad enough, he'd done so in front of Fayt.

The azure haired young man that had literally fallen from the sky and had become savior of her entire world like the hero from a story from the mind of a child.

When she first met him in the Lords Mansion located in the town of Arias he'd immediately stood out to her, his blue hair obviously but more than that had been his green eyes. They had the look of someone that, despite his experiences in the dungeon of Castle Airyglyph, not been beaten down by the weight of fighting a hopeless war.

Everyone around her had suffered because of the war with Airyglyph in some form or another, it was rare to meet someone that hadn't lost a love one, the people that resided in Perterny and Aquios notwithstanding due to their location far from the front lines.

Maybe not the most handsome man she'd ever met but she'd definitely say that he was cute in a youthful way, perhaps a little boyish and naive looking. However she'd not allowed this to cloud her judgment, her first priority had been to her Queen and to the kingdom after all. Little did she know at the time just how much Master Fayt and his companions would shake her life up her life, turning her view of the world upside down.

Eventually she'd learn the truth, instead of an engineer from Greeton like she'd been led to believe, Fayt was instead a visitor from beyond the stars who'd by chance become stranded on her world.

In time he'd returned to the stars from whence he'd came, taking with him both her best friend Nel as well as her father to join him on his adventures. Whilst she'd never say it aloud she was a little bit jealous of both of them, getting the chance to see what lay beyond the confines of her world and sail among an ocean of stars.

After it was all over never did she imagine that she'd ever see him again but to her and everyone's surprise Master Fayt had chosen to make a life for himself on Elicoor, choosing to forgo any luxuries that his world had to offer to be of serves to the Kingdom of Aquaria.

Why he'd done so no one knew for sure, however this hadn't stopped many within the court from speculating. There were many rumors as to why he'd chosen to stay, many of them centering around his relationship with Nel, coming to the conclusion that he'd fallen in love with the red haired member of the Crimson Blades and had returned alongside her for the sole purpose of making her his bride.

Clair's frown deepened. She was worried about Nel. Since returning Nel had been quick return to her duties, throwing herself into her work as if nothing had happened, as if whatever she'd experienced on her adventures among the stars had had no impact on her.

More importantly it appeared as if her relationship with Master Fayt, whatever it was, had stalled. If her friends couldn't learn to balance her duty to the Kingdom with her own personal life she was afraid that life would pass her by and she'd end up as an old maid before she knew it.

Then there was Master Fayt himself. Despite not having spent a whole lot of time with him since his return, she had found herself enjoying the small time they had spent together, even if most of their conversations had been on the subject of work.

It was during these brief moments of time she'd come to but notice new things about him, not that she was trying to evaluated however due to her training as she couldn't help it.

Whenever they talked he seemed to be a lot more at ease with himself, whilst he no longer had that boyish naivety he'd had when they first met he seemed a lot more relaxed. With the war with Airyglyph over and the threat of the Vendeeni no longer hanging over his head no longer did he have a reason to be on edge all the time.

In particular she couldn't help but notice that, despite all he had gone through, his eyes still had the same sparkle that he'd had when they first eyes. Those emerald green orbs that she could probably spend hours staring into them, lose herself in them.

Clair shook her head, doing her best to compose herself. 'Enough of that. It is inappropriate to think of Master Fayt in such a manner.' She berated herself. 'It…it's not as if I don't think that Master Fayt is unattractive or anything, I'm sure he'd make any woman he ended up with very happy…'

Clair shook her head again, doing her best to banish such thoughts. 'I…I should go speak with him, I shouldn't allow my father's careless words sully whatever friendship he and I have developed in the time we've known in each other…' She thought as she composed herself. 'Besides after everything he's done for us its only right that he should be made to feel welcome.'

Her mind made up Clair rose from her seat with the intent of seeking out the azure haired swordsman and speaking with him. Little did she know just how soon she'd find herself face to face with him.

Elsewhere Fayt was strolling through the corridors of the palace, giving a polite greeting to the guards and castle staff that he passed by. It had been a long day for the azure haired off-worlder, most of it spent in the Runeological Research Department working alongside Lady Elena and the Runeologists, the dark haired Aquarian had been eager in getting him to help her advance the use of Channelled Force and its applications.

With the work day now behind his thoughts had turned to figuring out what to do with himself for the rest of the evening. Perhaps he should spend a few hours in the training yard, it had been a while since he'd practiced with his sword. The war between Airyglyph and Aquaria being over was no excuse for letting his skills get rusty.

Then what? Sooner or later dinner would become a priority, but where should he go? Aquios had no shortage or taverns and restaurants to choose from, then again staying in and dining at the castle was always an option. Then again maybe not. Whilst the food prepared in the royal kitchens far surpassed that found in any of the local taverns the company in the castles dining hall left a lot to be desired.

Despite his accomplishments many of the local Lords and Nobles still saw him as an outsider, his presence only tolerated primarily due to him having found favour with their queen as well as the Zelpher's and the Lasbards.

As much as he'd come to like Elicoor, Aquaria in particular, it was far from perfect. This was still a world where blood and titles trumped everything, something Earth, before its destruction, had long since abandoned. For all its faults it was less of an issue in Airyglyph, there it was at least somewhat possible for someone to rise up the ranks based on effort, primarily on the battlefield.

Yet despite this Fayt couldn't see himself ever settling there, there was just too much bad blood in Airyglyph for that to happen. Maybe that could change with time if the country ever managed to overhaul itself but didn't see himself ever choosing it over Aquaria.

Feeling a sense of frustration starting to form Fayt did his best to quickly banish these thoughts, no point getting worked up over such things. The Nobles could think of him however they wanted, he had his own supporters inside court like Nel and Clair.

"Ah, perfect. Wanna marry my daughter?"

A sudden chill ran down his spine, just the memory of Adray's words were enough to make him halt in his tracks.

It had been a few weeks since that meeting with Adray at the Lasbard manor, the elder of the two asking him if he was interesting in marrying his daughter. It wasn't like he disliked Clair, she was quite charming in fact, but for the man to just casually come out with such a question, what was Adray thinking.

"By the way... Are you seeing that girl, Nevelle's daughter...Nel?"

"Wha'? (cough cough) Why do you ask that?"

"Well, I was wondering why you're sticking around. I thought that was why... Isn't it?"

"N-no! There's nothing between me and Nel. I first met her after coming to this planet, and we went on some adventures together. I guess you'd call us comrades."

To make matters worse, or at least more embarrassing, Adray had also brought up the subject of Nel. Fayt wasn't dumb, he'd heard of the rumours that circled the royal court, in particular the ones that entertained the idea of Nel and he being a romantic item.

Where he and Nel stood in terms of their relationship however he wasn't entirely sure. He'd told Adray that the two of them were comrades but this was a lie. He cared about Nel, she'd made too much of an impact on him to simplify define their relationship as merely being comrades.

He'd not seen the red haired spy in some time, last he'd heard she'd been dispatched on a mission to gain intelligence on Greeton. He hoped she was doing ok, the two of them hadn't really had the opportunity to spend a lot of time together as of late, something that disappointed him greatly. Still he suspected if she ever said she needed him he'd more than likely drop everything to support her.

Then there was the subject of Clair, she was an entirely different can of worms. It's not that he thought she was unattractive, far from it in fact, from the moment he met her she stood out to him. Sure she was physically attractive, being a red blooded male he was he'd obviously taken note of that, both her silver hair and auburn eyes had stood out to him.

But it was more than that. Whilst Nel might put up a cold front once you got to know her he'd learned that she was a caring individual, it was just a matter of getting her to lower her defences first.

Clair on the other hand was the complete opposite, she wore her feelings on her sleeve, her whole being seem to radiate with warmth, the kind that a man would do anything to feel the embrace of. To call their own.

Fayt shook his head again. "I…I should go talk with Clair." He said to himself. "I just hope she's not upset because of Adray's carelessness."

His course of action decided he made his way towards the palace gardens, since staying at the royal palace he'd come learn that the gardens was where the silvered haired leader of the Secret Legion like to unwind after a long day of work.

It wasn't long before he'd exited the castle, finding the palace gardens himself bathed in the redish/orange light of the day spread out before him. Taking a moment to enjoy the feel of the sun on his face after a day locked up in the research lab before he began looking for his silver haired target.

He didn't have search long as he saw her ascending the stairs that led down into the gardens themselves. "M…Master Fayt…" She said upon seeing him. "I…I was just about to look for you."

"Y…you were?" Fayt stammered. Taking a moment he tried to compose himself. "I…I actually looking for you as well, I…I had something I wanted to talk to you about."

"Is that so?" Clair replied. "I also had something I wished to speak with you about."

"Uhhh ok." Fayt said, taken aback a little. "What did you want to talk about?"

Clair took a deep breath. "I…wish to apologize for my father's tactlessness." She told him. "He…he means well he can be rather thoughtless at times."

"Y…yeah, I've come to learn that pretty well." Fayt replied. "Umm you don't need to apologize for your father. Sure it was embarrassing but no real harm done, I don't think so anyway."

Clair felt the weight upon her shoulders lighten, she was relieved to her that Master Fayt did not hold any ill feelings towards her or her father.

"Still I was hoping that I might be allowed the chance to make it up to you." She continued.

Fayt blinked. "Y…you don't need to do that…" He told her.

"I insist." Clair retorted, her tone firm. "I was thinking that I could perhaps cook dinner for you."

"D…dinner!" Fayt exclaimed. He should decline, despite the silver haired Runeologist's generous offer he couldn't help but feel like he was taking advantage of her. However he could tell by the look in her eyes that Clair was set on doing this for him. Whether he liked it or not.

"S…sure," He replied. "Sounds like it could be fun."

Clair's heart skipped a beat, she hadn't expected that he would actually accept her offer so quickly. "H…how about tomorrow evening then?" She suggested. "Would that be alright with you?"

"S…Sure, tomorrow sounds great." Fayt replied, rubbing the back of his head.

Despite herself a smile formed on Clair's lips at hearing this. "It's settled then, come by my family home tomorrow evening." She said, doing her best to keep her tone even. "Don't worry, I promise my father will not be anywhere near the house tomorrow."

"I'm looking forward to it." Fayt told her.

The next day was a rush of activity for Clair, after breakfast she'd made a beeline to the market place, determined to purchase the best ingredients she could find. The look on her face letting everyone know that she was a woman on a mission.

Her first destination had been a stall selling fresh meat, ideas of how to prepare and serve it cycling through her head as she weighted her options. After nearly a minute something caught her eye; two thick juicy looking steaks.

'Perfect…' Her choice made Clair told her the seller behind the stall's what she wanted, paying for her chosen pieces of meat and moved on to pick out the rest of her ingredients, buying her vegetables and then what she needed for desert.

Returning to the Lasbard manor with ingredients in hand Clair had spent the rest of the morning going about her day, going through various reports and pieces of paper work that required her attention until lunchtime. That when everything changed.

Normally Clair was an even tempered person, more than willing to delegate tasks to others. There was however one area that was a notable exception to this rule. When it came to the kitchen Clair's word was to be taken as law and insubordination of any kind was not to be tolerate.

Entering the kitchen, and informing the staff that they had the rest of the day off Clair set to work preparing the food that she would share with Fayt that evening, vegetables quickly peeled with an effortless efficiency before being rinsed and placed into various preheated pans to cook away in the boiling water.

With that done she moved onto seasoning the two thick pieces of meat she'd picked up, prepping them with salt and pepper before coating it in a generous helping of a sauce made of various ingredients that she'd prepared several to best bring out the meats flavor.

With her vegetables cooking away and her meat prepared, she'd cook it later, all Clair had left to prepare was dessert and she knew just what she was going to do. An old favorite of hers: apple pie.

Whilst she could have easily gone out and bought a premade one from the market Clair wanted dinner tonight to be special thus wanted to make it herself and quickly set to work she began making pasty.

Once her pasty was ready Clair then moved on to peeling and slicing her apples, once they were cut up into small enough pieces she placed them in the pastry base and coated them in sugar before covering them with a second piece of pasty and moved over to the oven, placing it inside to cook.

Stepping back from the oven Clair wiped some sweat from her brow as she admired her handiwork, hours spent in the kitchen preparing dinner left her feeling tired yet also feeling pleased with herself.

Turning her attention to the window that gave her a charming view of the manors gardens she notice how late it was getting, seeing that the sun was beginning to set, letting her know that she had just enough to time to freshen up and get ready to welcome Fayt into her home when he arrived.

After making sure everything was cooking away nicely the silver haired beauty exited the kitchen and made her way upstairs where her room was located, knowing that she needed to get ready.

In another part of the city Fayt had spent the day both looking forward to and dreading the evening that was to come. Not that he was repulsed at the idea of spending time with Clair, far from it, it's just he'd never spent time alone with a girl.

Sure he'd spent time with Sophia, the two of them had practically grown up together. Maybe it was familiarity with one another was the reason that he'd had a hard time ever thinking of her as a 'girl'.

Heck despite being on his collages basketball team he'd never he'd never been on a date before, preferring to spend his free time either focused on his studies or spending it in the holosuits gaming to even think about dating.

Clair however was different. She wasn't just a girl, she was a woman. A kind, warm and generous woman. An attractive woman.

Had he spent time with women? Sure. Nel, Maria and Mirage all fell into the category and each of them was attractive in their own ways. However any time spent together with them where it was just the two of them had been rare, most of the time there had always been at least one other person hanging around not allowing for much in the way of privacy.

He'd done his best to focus on his work, trying to banish all thoughts of his dinner with Clair from his mind until it was time to get ready. He'd also made a point not to tell anyone about his plans for the evening. The rumors of him and Nel being romantically involved were bad enough, no need to drag Clair into that whole mess as well.

'Will you relax, this just two friends having dinner together. This is not a date' He berated himself. 'I don't think it is anyway…'

Feeling himself beginning to panic Fayt had tried to focus on the project that he'd been working on with the other members of Lady Elena's research team, doing his best not to think about Clair.

However before he knew it the end of the end of the work day was announced, the hours seemingly having gone by in the blink of an eye. Resigned to his fate the azure haired Earthling readied himself for his activities for the evening: dinner with Clair.

Leaving the research lab Fayt had swung by the royal bathing pools, he wasn't sure if the warm water was pumped in from a natural hot spring that palace was built on or if it was heated by some kind of Runeology however he couldn't argue that living in a place that had access to hot water wasn't convenient.

Having freshened up Fayt then returned to his room, upon entering he found his clothes he'd set aside for the evening laid out on his bed.

"Ok, let's do this…" Fayt muttered to himself before pulling his shirt over his head and tossing it to one side.

Before long he had changed into his outfit for the evening, at first glance it looked not too dissimilar to normal Aquarian garb but with a few influences from Earth, notably pants (he really didn't understand the male population of this planet's aversion to wearing them), it wasn't anything too fancy but he figured they'd pass for smart casual.

Washed and dressed for the evening Fayt exited the palace and began strolling through the streets of the royal city, observing as the people went about their lives, some going home whilst the others were getting ready to unwind in one of the many taverns that were spread throughout the settlement.

Passing though the market place Fayt was greeted by the sight of the many different stalls, some having already closed up whilst others had stayed open a little longer in an attempt to do some last minute business and were in the process of doing so.

One such stall was run by an older looking woman that was selling flowers who appeared to be about to close for the day. Seeing her a thought occurred to Fayt, Clair was generously inviting him to her home and treating him to dinner. It seemed only polite that he bring her something.

"Good evening." He greeted the stalls owner as he approached her.

"Good evening young sir." The woman greeted him. "I'm sorry but I'm about to close."

"I…I can see that but I was hoping I could buy something quickly." Fayt replied. "I…I need a gift for a friend."

"I see." The woman said. "A lady friend perhaps?"

Her words made Fayt blush. "Uhhh…yes…my friend is a lady." He replied. "So…err…can…can you help me out?"

The flower seller chuckled at this. "Very well then, what did you have in mind?" She asked him. "What kind of flower would your 'friend' like?"

Her words stumped Fayt, honestly he really didn't know what Clair might like. He didn't really know much about flowers in general. The only exception was the Maiden of Irisa, even if it had been more to do with the memories attached to it more than the flower itself.

Not wanting to get emotional in front of the seller, Fayt returned to the task at hand, not that he was any less stuck then he was before. He'd just have to get something he thought looked pretty and hoped Clair would like it.

Glancing over the available plants a flash of blue caught Fayt's attention and he saw a flower with midnight blue bell shaped petals. "I…I'll take that one I guess." He told the flower lady.

"A fine choice, I'm sure this will make your 'friend' very happy." She told him before informing him of the price.

Paying up Fayt thanked her before resuming his journey towards his destination, before he knew it he found himself standing before the doors of the Lasbard manor, the sight of his awkward conversation with Adray not too long ago.

Doing his best to repress the memories of that particular meeting Fayt took hold of one of the brass rings and tapped it on the wood, announcing his presence. A minute passed and the door opened and he was met by a stern looking woman, the house keeper if he remembered correctly.

"Master Liengod." She said, both her tone and the look on her face giving him the impression she'd stepped in something unmentionable.

"Uhh yes, C…Lady Clair is expecting me." Fayt replied, catching himself. He wasn't sure if this woman didn't like him or if she was this way with everyone but he figured it was best not to chance it.

"Yes, I'm aware." The house keeper, her tone disapproving. "Wait in the hall, I shall inform the mistress of your arrival."

Stepping aside she allowed Fayt to enter, closing the door behind him before moving towards and ascending the grand looking staircase that led to the second floor of the grand looking home.

Alone now Fayt took in his surroundings, despite being a part of the Aquarian nobility interior of the Lasbard Manor was more conservative than one might suspect.

"Master Fayt." Hearing a voice Fayt looked round and his breath caught in his throat at the sight that greeted him.

Clair descended the stairs, wearing a dress that was simple yet elegant made of a dark blue material that hugged her rather generous figure, the color contrasting with her fair skin and silver hair.

"H…hi Clair…" He stammered out, his cheeks becoming flush. "I…I hope I'm not late or anything?"

Clair couldn't help but be amused by this. "Your timing is perfect." She assured him.

Still a little flustered Fayt presented the flower he'd bought in the market. "H…here, I…I got this for you." He stammered. "I…I figured it would be kind of rude for me to show up empty handed."

Taken aback a little Clair accepted the flower from the blue haired young man, lifting it to her nose and was met by a pleasant scent. "Thank you Master Fayt," She told him. "It's lovely."

"You…you don't have to refer to me as 'Master Fayt'." Fayt told her, sounding embarrassed. "Just Fayt is fine. I know your being polite and all, but I think we know each other well enough by now."

Hearing this made Clair blush slightly, did he think so highly of her that he was comfortable with her referring to him without any polite honorific attached. "V…very well." She said. "Thank you…Fayt…"

"Mistress Clair." A voice was heard, the sound bringing the moment the two of out to a very abrupt end. Looking up both Fayt and Clair was greeted by the sight of the house keeper standing at the top of the stairs. "Will you be needing anything else?"

"No, that will be all Cecilia." Clair replied. "You're are relieved of duty for the rest of the evening."

The woman identified as Cecilia stared at Clair, the disapproving look on her face never shifting. "I see." She said sternly. "I shall take my leave then. Good evening Mistress Clair."

With that she bowed her head in a polite manner before turning on her heel and walking away, leaving both Fayt and Clair alone.

"I don't think she likes me very much." Fayt said once he was sure the sour faced woman was out of earshot.

Clair chuckled at this as she absent mindedly toyed with the flower. "I wouldn't worry too about it. Cecilia has been that way forever." She told him as she turned to look at him. "Dinner isn't quite ready just yet, would you like something to drink? There's some tea left or would you like some wine perhaps?"

"Tea's fine." He replied. Truthfully he'd never had been much of a drinker, even as a college student he'd never really had the taste for alcohol.

Clair nodded at this. "Very well M…Fayt." She said, catching herself. It was going to take her some time to get used to calling him by just his name.

She led Fayt into the lounge, placing the flower he'd bought for her in a small vase before heading to the kitchen and checked on the diner and putting the two steaks on to cook before pouring two cups of tea.

With that done she carried both cups out where Fayt was seated. The two of them made polite chit chat as they drank their tea, nothing amazing but it was pleasant enough. For her it was mainly about the having to cover Nel's work load whilst the red haired spy was off in Greeton.

In return Fayt told her about the work he was doing with Lady Elena, after the Thunder Arrow the head Runeologist was eager to see what else Channeled Force could be applied to. Clair listened as explained the details of one of their latest experiments, some of the words that he used she didn't understand.

As she listened to him she recalled Nel mentioning that Fayt and the other offworlders had a devise that allowed them to understand and be understood by the people of the planets that they visited. She guessed there were some words that just didn't translate into her planets native language.

Another thing was Nel had said on the subject of this devise was that whilst it made it possible for people to understand each other it also altered what someone sounded like, meaning she'd never really heard what Fayt's voice truly sounded like.

Ever since she learned this she couldn't help but be curious, she wondered what Fayt's real voice sounded like. Perhaps one day she'd work up the nerve to ask him, ask him to speak to her using his real voice, even if she couldn't understand him she wanted to hear it.

Draining the last of her cup Clair set it down and wiped her mouth on a napkin. "I believe we should take this to the dining room." She told her guest. "Wouldn't want dinner to get cold."

"I guess that wouldn't be a good thing." Fayt said before finishing his own tea. "Well, lead the way."

Dinner had been a pleasant experience, the first course consisted of a simple soup, nothing amazing but Fayt eat it, complimenting Clair for it.

Once the dishes for the first course Clair brought out the main course, Fayt's eyes widening at the sight of the steak accompanied by a side of cooked vegetables that was set before him. Clair couldn't help but take amount of pleasure at the look on his face as he dug it.

Cutting off a piece of the cut of meat Fayt placed it into his mouth, his eyes widening as a blend of flavor washed his taste buds, a combination of the right amount of natural flavor and seasoning that Clair had used.

Before he knew it he'd finished off his steak and the vegetables that had accompanied it, he let out a content sigh as he leaned back in his chair as he let his food settle.

Clair, who was also finished with her meal, was doing the same, wiping her mouth clean of any of the meat juices or crumbs that had escaped her mouth.

The two of them talked some more as they waited for their food to digest. Clair told Fayt a little about herself, sharing with him a few stories from her youth. Meeting Nel for the first time as well as their training in Runeology along with a few incidents and near misses during their early missions.

Fayt's stories meanwhile weren't nearly as interesting, at least he didn't think so, mostly about his life before his adventures began, particularly his studies in Symbology, doing his best to phrase in a manner that Clair would understand which also meant doing his best to explain to her what a college was, likening it to someone apprenticing themselves under a master of a particular field. An idea that Clair found fascinating.

Time slipped by, the two of them enjoying the others company as they swapped stories. Soon enough both their stomachs felt less heavy, Clair taking this as a sign that it was a good time to move on to the final course.

Clearing away the plates Clair entered the kitchen and minutes later carrying a dish containing the steaming dessert was she placed on the table before she offered Fayt a generous slice of apple pie, coating it in thick chilled cream.

Once more Fayt was bowled over by the dish set before, amazed by the effort that Clair had gone for him. Picking up a spoon he scooped up a piece of the warm dessert and popped into his mouth, once more he was met by a mixture of flavors, the apples she'd used both sweet and sour along with the warm pastry and cool richness of the cream.

Both Fayt and Clair tucked into their dessert, the final course of the meal that the silver haired woman had worked hard to prepare, soon enough it was consumed, only a small piece left over.

"That was really good Clair," Fayt told his silver haired host as he set his spoon down in his now empty bowl. "I can't remember the last time I ate a meal that good."

"I'm glad you liked it." Clair replied, his praise made her feel warm inside. "W…would you care for some more?"

"No thank you, I appreciate the offer but I don't think I could eat another bite." Fayt replied as he patted his full belly.

Clair chuckled at this. "Do you cook M…Fayt?" She asked.

"Me, not really. I'm not a terrible in the kitchen but I'm great either." Fayt confessed. "Back when we on the road together Cliff and I more or less left cooking to Nel, though I'd try to help her out if I could. Cliff however, he wasn't allowed anywhere near anything food related unless it was ready to eat. In Nel's own word he was 'less then useless'."

Both of them laughed at this. Clair could almost picture Nel berating the blond Klausian after some cooking disaster whilst Fayt tried to play peacemaker between the two.

"Soo, uhh speaking of Nel…" Fayt spoke up. "There hasn't been any word from her has there?"

"No, I don't believe so." Clair told him. "If Nel had reported in I'm sure we'd both have heard about it."

Fayt sighed as he leaned back in his chair. "Yeah…guess you're right." He said, sounding defeated. "I just…I guess I'm just…I know she can handle herself…I just want to know she's ok."

"I understand. Nel is a constant source of sleepless nights." Clair told him in a sympathetic tone. "Though I must say I'm a little surprised, I knew that the two of you were close, I'd have to be blind not to see it, but I didn't realize that she meant that much to you."

Fayt shifted in his seat, he didn't mean to unload his personal business on Clair but now that he'd gotten started he found he was having a hard time being able to stop himself.

"I…I'm not going to lie Clair, I care about Nel. I care about her a lot. I just don't really know where she and I stand right now." He said. "When I first decided to settled here I figured things would be different, that we'd get to spend more time with each other. Instead…"

Sadness welled up within Clair, from his tone and the look in his eyes she could tell that Nel had come to mean a lot to Fayt and her sudden coldness left him feeling confused. She couldn't help but feel for him.

"Nel is…a complicated person." She told him. "She's not good when it comes to her own feelings, never one to open up to anyone easily, not even me. She's been that way ever since Sir Nevelle passed away. Honestly I was amazed how you were able to bond with her to the point that you did."

"Then why, why did she close up the moment I came back?" Fayt asked, desperate to know the answer.

"I can't tell you for sure, I can only speculate really." Clair replied. "I think that…you being here it, well, it scares her. That being around you makes Nel feel like she susceptible to feelings that she's not used to dealing with, how you were able to split past her defenses so easily."

Fayt fell silent, turning his gaze away from Clair and stared off into space as he considered her words. "F…Fayt…" Clair said, the sudden silence making her feel ill at ease.

"I'm…fine." Fayt replied. "It's just that, what you told me, it's…quite a lot to take in."

Clair felt a weight drop into her stomach, of course he was thinking about Nel. Even after inviting him into her home and cooking for him, like she was showing him what she had to offer, his mind was still on the red haired spy.

Figures, what chance did she have against the woman that had rescued the azure haired swordsman from a prison cell in Airyglyph, had many adventures together and later on had been the one to follow him to the stars?

Fayt then shook his head and let out a humorless chuckle. "Look at me, thinking about another woman whilst in the house of the one who invited me over and made me dinner."

"It…its fine Fayt," Clair said, trying to fight back the feelings of jealousy as she tried to put on a brave face.

"No it's not." Fayt said, perhaps more harshly then he'd intended. "I…I care about Nel but tonight is not about her, it's about you."

He let out a sigh as he pushed thoughts of Nel aside. "I…I guess it's time to talk about the reason for all this." He said, his tone serious. "I know you're a nice person Clair but…you didn't just invite me over out of the goodness of your heart did you."

Clair shifted in her seat. She'd been having such a nice time with the young man across from her that she'd almost forgot the reason she'd invited him over. "That's right, there's something I wished to discuss with you."

Clair took a deep breath as she composed herself. "Fayt, I invited you over because I wished to apologize for the actions of my father." She said, her tone firm. "What he said was thoughtless and tactless and you shouldn't have been place in that position."

"You didn't need to go to all these lengths Clair, you're not responsible for Adray's actions nor should you be the one to apologize for them." Fayt replied. "I spent enough time around your father to know what kind of man he is. Sure he's loud, tactless and more than a little hard headed but I can tell he cares about you a lot. However some of the things he said…"

"I know my daughter well. She would not say no."

"I know your father means well, but I don't think it's his place to make an offer like that." Fayt told her. "Offering your hand in marriage to someone so casually, like you're just some prize to be given out." He could feel frustration begin to boil up inside him. "I'm sorry, I'm sitting here about to start ranting…"

"No, its fine." Clair replied. "You were about to say something."

"I'm saying that you shouldn't just marry someone because it's convenient," Fayt told her. "You…you should marry someone because it's what you want, because you love them."

Clair shifted in her chair. What was he trying to say to her? That she should marry for love? Whilst it was was a nice sentiment, one that she was sure all little girls hoped to do, however reality was rarely so kind. Political marriages in Aquios were quite common, especially within the circles of nobility, they were little more than business transactions where both sides hoped to gain something.

Still her father had offered her hand to Fayt, who despite being one of the savior of the kingdom and having the approval of the queen had little to nothing to his name. With this thought now in mind she began to see that her father offering her to the young man had little to do with political maneuvering, not that Adray had much care for court politics, and certainly wouldn't be gaining anything from it.

Was it really as simple as Adray had made such an offer simply because he thought Fayt worthy of her?

"Fayt…" She spoke up. "Are you saying that…that the idea of being married to me is…repulsive to you?"

"What? No, of course not." Fayt exclaimed, taken aback by her words. "I…I just…. Forget it, it's stupid…"

"No, go on." Clair pressed. "What is it?"

"It's just, if I'm honest it's less that I don't want to marry you or anything, it's just if I did then that would make Adray my father-in-law." Fayt confessed. "I mean I like your father well enough but being related to him, that might be a little much..."

Despite herself Clair began chuckling, the seriousness of the situation quickly evaporating. "I can see that." She replied. "I love my father but I understand that he's an…acquired taste, one that might prove to can be too much for the uninitiated."

The both of the chuckled at this. "But y'know," Fayt continued. "I…I never said I was totally opposed to the idea of, y'know, you and me…"

Clair ceased laughing, had she heard correctly? Did Master Fayt really just say what she think what he said. "D…do you mean that?" She asked

"I…I don't know. I mean I like you, I know that much, and, well, you're a beautiful woman Clair. You're warm. Your kind. You just seem to glow with love. Adray aside I think any man would be count themselves lucky to have the chance to be with you." Fayt said, his face beginning to flush. "I don't know exactly if me and you could, well y'know, have a relationship like that. But I…I wouldn't mind finding out. If it's alright with you that is?"

Clair stared at him, unsure of what to think. Was this the start of something, something more than mere friendship? She wasn't sure. But, just like the young man across from her, she was eager to see what could happen.

"I…I'd like that." She told him, offering him a warm smile on her lips and her pink tinge on her cheeks.

AN: And with that we're done. So for those who don't know me, unless you've read my other work of course, hi there and thanks for checking this one.

I've not hadn't done anything Star Ocean related in a looong time but recently decided to check out SO section on this site kinda on a whim. Glad I did cos I ended up reading Finding Home, Expectations and Do no Harm by Wander 101, his/her work inspired quite a few things in this story, all of which I enjoyed despite their flaws. It inspired me to write some Star Ocean related stuff.

I mentioned I've written some other Star Ocean stories, one of those being a FatexMirage story Not so Innocent, which might be the only one on this site, its also pretty much nothing but pure smut so yeah, just a heads up if that kind thing offends you (new update for it coming soon) which I've gone and overhauled. I also wrote a FaytxNel oneshot called Return to Me, a story that I started writing and has been sitting on a hard drive for the last 15 years and was inspired to finish (so check that out if you wish).

But it wasn't enough, as I worked on that FaytxNel story I felt inspired to write some more so I came up with this little tale featuring Fayt and Clair AKA the NPC waifu (SO3 has a lot of waifu characters now that I think about it).

I'll admit when it came SO3 FaytxNel is my OTP but I always did like Clair, I generally liked her in the game and was always kinda disappointed that she wasn't a recruitable character, then again if she was she'd more then likely she'd end up in a Mirage situation, being a straight up clone of Nel like how Mirage is a clone of Cliff. Plus I figured she and Fayt would be cute together.

Anyway I'm done, thanks to everyone who dropped by to check this little story of mine out. I hope you enjoyed this, please feel free to leave some feedback cos I'd love to know what you all thought of this.

I'm in a Star Ocean mood lately so maybe I'll write some more in the future.

PS for those who are curious the thumbnail image used for this story is art from a mobile game called Star Ocean: Anamnesis which unfortunately did do very well outside of Japan but did have a bunch of characters from across the Star Ocean franchise in it including Clair so there's that.