Emotionally Fragile Pillows

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A/N: Yay for Final Fantasy Tactics Advance fic! Yeah, Mewt x Ritz. It's mostly in the friendshippy way, just for your knowledge. I'm just tired of how people always think it's gonna be Marche and Ritz... You can still have the (girly) shy, skittish boy and the brash tomboy girl. In my opinion, they go better together. And it also takes away the "power" males hold in M/F pairings... Ahaha. ha. ha. Now you all know why I like this het pairing.

Also, the fic's anti-Marche x Ritz. Not in the negative way; just in the never-will-happen-they'll-stay-friends-way.

Reviews are nice things, y'know?

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They never spoke about Ivalice while they were with him. He really couldn't blame them - he had wanted Marche dead and, because of his childish wants and desires, it had practically torn apart his and Ritz's friendship.

Mewt hated ruining other people's lives. Because of that fear, he had grown up to be diffident and perhaps a bit reclusive. His father always said it was because he'd grown up a lot without his mother. Mewt had always clung to that reason, always hoping it was the truth, always hoping it'd tide the bullies over...

"Mewt," Marche says carefully. They're sitting on the steps of the small local library, Marche on the wide stone railing, and Mewt and Ritz on the steps below. Marche's blue eyes are unfocused, staring dreamily at the tops of nearby trees. "What do you think Babus is doing now?"

Ritz sighs. Mewt blinks at the question, one he never saw coming. How long has it been since they've been "gone?" Were they ever gone at all? He can't remember when they came back, it seems like they had never left at all, and those memories were simply illustrations from a fantastical story that lingered in his mind. "Babus...?"

"You do remember, don't you?" Marche's eyes clear and he looks down at his two friends on the stone steps. Ritz looks sleepy, her white hair almost brushing the steps - she's let it grown out long. Mewt glances away, stretching his legs before him.

"I do. It's just kind of..." He trails off. The edges of the steps are digging into the backs of his knees, and he pulls them back up next to his body. "...fuzzy, almost."

"I concur," Ritz mumbles, slowly raising a hand and brushing her bangs behind her ear.

"You don't remember Shara?" Marche asks her, his voice conveying mild surprise.

"Of course I remember her." Ritz says to him in a 'what-happened-to-common-sense?' tone. "It's just getting harder to picture her in my mind, is all."

Marche and Mewt know she means she's starting to forget, though. They all are. Are they supposed to forget their friends, their clanmates?

"I still remember Montblanc." Marche looks back up at the grayish sky again, a small smile on his face. Ritz chuckles.

"Kind of hard to forget a Moogle that went around in a bright green jacket and orange shorts..."

Marche rolls his eyes and Mewt giggles. "Yeah, I guess so. Hard to forget people like Ezel, Babus, and Shara, though..."

"I've always wondered," Ritz starts, staring up at Marche, "Do Nu Mou and Viera and Moogles count as 'people' in that sense? Everybody used to say 'There were lots of people at the marketplace today,' but is that what they really meant?"

"And here you used to say I overthought things..." Marche smiles, and Ritz sticks her tongue out at him. He checks his watch and blinks, then squints at it. "Looks like I have to get back. I promised Mom I'd be home to take care of Doned while she went out..."

Mewt and Ritz bid him farewell as he hops off the railing, and they watch the blond run down the sidewalk, heading towards his home.

"So, do you remember Babus?"

Mewt blinks at her in his usual shy fashion - he still wasn't really used to getting so much attention, aside from his father, even with friends such as Ritz and Marche. "Yeah, I do, actually... He did so much for me, even though I was so overbearing..."

"You're not overbearing, Mewt." Ritz smiles demurely at him, and he blushes faintly. "But, maybe with that hair you had back in Ivalice..."

"You said you wouldn't talk about that." Mewt grumbles, resting his chin on his knees. Ritz laughs, reaching out to pet his aforementioned locks.

"Really, Mewt - how did you get this to stand up like those horns? Some kind of magic?" She gives some strands a gentle tug, and Mewt grimaces.

"I dunno. I should've asked Babus while I had the chance..." Mewt lets her play with his hair, knowing she wouldn't yank it like Guiness and the other bullies would have, given the chance. He feels girlier than ever, though. Only girls played with each other's hair...

"I would've liked to meet him..." Ritz says in a thoughtful way, dropping her hands back into her lap. "He sounds so... sagely."

"Sagely?" Mewt repeats incredulously. His words have never spoke of Babus as 'sagely,' have they? Sagely... "Well..." The description suddenly doesn't seem too far off, though.

"Babus was a Runeseeker, right?" Ritz adjusts her skirt over her knees. Tomboy or not, Ritz still wears feminine clothing. She just makes it look sort of rough - Marche still remembers her battle dress. Pink with shoulder armor, 'and with spikes,' he had said. "He must have been powerful..."

Mewt sighs, his breath becoming a whitish vapor in the chill air surrounding them. Ritz is staring down at her lap, while Mewt gazes into the blue of the sky, like Marche had been doing.

"I miss him," Mewt finally murmurs, leaning back on his hands.

"I miss Shara. So I guess we're in the same boat." The white-haired girl smiles fondly, as though remembering a memory that could only be described as 'wonderful.' "It's nice, though, being able to... reminisce... with someone who knows where I'm coming from."

"Do you ever want it to all change back?"

"Sometimes. But I kind of like it here, in old Saint Ivalice, too... I have you and Marche, and you two are all that I ever really need." Mewt blushes as she says this, forcing himself not to look at her. "Marche is like a brother to me - dorky, and he can be a pain sometimes, but I'm glad to know a guy like him. And you're someone I want to protect."

Mewt does a double-take. "Excuse me?"

Ritz laughs again, softly. "You're just kind of fragile, Mewt, no offense. Emotionally, I mean... And if there are such jerks like Guiness and Colin here in just Saint Ivalice, then what other people can be out there that can hurt you?"

"You plan on accompanying me wherever I go, Ritz? That's awfully nice of you, but kind of creepy, too..."

"I see you've developed some sense of humor," Ritz says dryly, looking over at him. "Can't be all timid and shy all the time, after all..."

Mewt half-smiles at this, then returns to knocking the heels of his feet against the side of the steps. "No, I guess not."

Suddenly, Ritz throws her arms around him and pulls him into a bone-crushing, confidence self-imploding hug. Mewt squeaks. "Mewty - I promise I'll be around for as long as possible to make sure all those pricks don't harm you, okay? And so will Marche. But he's a guy, so he'll probably take things differently... But I promise!"

Mewt smells the shampoo Ritz used on her hair this morning - something fruity and exotic. Typical of Ritz. "Ritz... You're the strangest person I know."

"Aww, thanks." She beams at him, and Mewt blushes again. He fears his face will permanently be pink and warm at the rate things are going.

Perhaps Ritz will watch his back for him, and so will Marche - but some things between friends just never change.

"Ritz... You can let go of me now."

"Oh, right. You're just so much of a nice pillow..."

"...Ritz..."

"Okay, okay, so I bought that shampoo Marche says smelled funny! Happy now?"

"Mm. It smells nice on you, actually."

"Pssh, Mewt. You're just saying that. Now what do you say we go and bug Marche and Doned?"

"Sure. Lead the way."

So the two friends got up from the steps, dusted themselves off, and then headed for Marche's house, chattering about fruity shampoos and emotionally fragile pillows along the way.

Because, of course, girls who use strange-smelling shampoos will always, always protect emotionally fragile human boy pillows.

Such things never change.

end

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...Something wasn't right about that ending.

But yay, FFTA fanfic! Mwahaha.

-Azu

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No love, no friendship, can cross the path of our destiny without leaving some mark on it forever.
- Francois Mauriac