Title: Polarity
Rating: PG
Pairing: Albel+Sophia (!)
Genre: Fluff with sprinkles of angst
Warnings: Some plot spoilers, you may want to have played to the middle of disk 2, timeline sort of spoilers
Summary: Curiosity gets the better of Sophia. However, she may be getting herself into more than she bargained for...
Comments: Instead of putting them here, I've compiled my notes on my webpage on how this fic came about and why I wrote it. My website is in my profile, go there.

I don't want any reviews here replying to my notes on my site. My e-mail is as plain as day on my profile and I'm on AIM most of the time, even if I'm busy playing World of Warcraft. You can also message me through this site itself about it. There is no reason not to contact me.

Well, hope you like the fic, it's my first time writing a het pairing in a long time and probably the first time I wrote from a PoV for a character I have neutral feelings for.

The young girl held her breath as she approached the door. Had she gone utterly mad? Had she lost her mind? Or was it like the old earth saying, something about curiosity and cats, she couldn't remember.

'Maybe this was a bad idea...' Sophia thought as she brought up her knuckle to knock at the door, but put it back down, her kitty key chain dangling back and forth from her staff as she shuffled her feet. Of all the rooms to be outside...

Ever since she had been reunited with Fayt, she had noticed a change in him. It wasn't something bad, but it felt like Fayt wasn't at all how she remembered him. He was there, besides her, but at other times, it didn't feel like he was truly there.

True, Fayt had gone through much. She asked him about his stay on Elicoor II when they had arrived there once again and he briefly told her about it. But she knew that he was hiding things from her, and although she had gone to Nel to ask about it, Nel only shook her head and told her that if Fayt wasn't going to speak of it, she wasn't either. She had also admitted that there were some things she didn't know either.

Sophia had tried to speak with Maria about it after her encounter with Nel. She was more around Sophia's age and maybe could relate to her dilemma better than Nel could. However, Maria shook her head sadly.

'Even I don't know the entire story, except little pieces of information I've heard from Cliff. If I told you what I was told, it could spread misinformation and a misunderstanding could occur. I know you want to know about what happened to Fayt, but I also know that you don't want a misunderstanding to break out between you and him due to second hand knowledge.'

Sophia knew Maria was right. She thanked Maria sincerely before leaving her room.

Cliff was the next option. Although Sophia thought Cliff seemed a little rude sometimes, she always seemed to smile and felt at ease in his presence. Sophia naturally assumed that Cliff would tell her something, since Fayt was with him longer than Nel.

But Cliff shook his head at her and said, 'The kid's been through a lot. I do know some of what he went through that he probably didn't tell you, but I don't think I'll tell you. It just wouldn't feel right, you know? There may be a reason why he's not telling you some things. Heck, he may be trying to sort out those things himself. But have faith in him that he'll tell you in good time.'

Sophia knew that Cliff had a point. Maybe Fayt was trying to sort out things himself. And maybe in due time, he would tell her the things he didn't tell her the first time.

But for some reason, that answer didn't satisfy her.

So her last choice was the one she didn't feel too comfortable confronting. Maybe it was the aloof attitude. Or maybe it was the way his eyes seemed to pierce through her soul when he glanced in her direction. Or maybe it was the fact she didn't want to get called a dozen or so rude names.

But if she wanted to know about Fayt, then Albel was her last choice to talk to. He actually might have been the best choice to begin with, Sophia realized. Albel and Fayt seemed to get along fairly well. Well, at least, Albel didn't snarl and snap at Fayt every minute and spoke to him in a remotely civilized manner.

Then again, he didn't snarl at Sophia. He definitely snarled in Nel's direction and while he didn't outright flaunt his dislike for Maria, his eyes showed that he clearly didn't care much for her. Cliff, he resorted to mumbled insults, which thankfully, the Klausian either ignored or didn't hear.

Taking a deep breath, Sophia raised her knuckle again and lightly knocked on the door. She took a few steps back, waiting for the owner to open the door. However, the door remained closed. Feeling a little annoyed, Sophia knocked a little louder this time, thinking that perhaps the owner didn't hear the first knock. The third time, she practically pounded on the door that probably could have been heard from the person next door.

Sadly, the door still refused to open.

Urging down her temptation to cast a Firebolt on the door, Sophia settled for turning the doorknob. She half expected the door to be bolted or locked, but it opened with ease and she entered the room.

"Did it ever occur to you that the reason why I didn't answer was because I didn't wish to be disturbed?"

'Well, this is going to turn out well...' Sophia thought as she closed the door, looking at the swordsman who was currently sitting in a chair by his bed, glaring at her. Brushing the dust off her skirt that wasn't there, she looked up at Albel and calmly said, "I'm sorry. I didn't think you heard..."

"I heard you the first time. I just didn't feel like answering."

'Yeah, this is going to go really well...' "I'm really sorry. If you don't want company, I'll just..."

"You're already in here, so say what you want, and I'll decide if I want to answer."

Sophia nodded. "Well, I wanted to talk to you about Fayt..."

An eyebrow rose. "Fayt?"

'Well, at least I got his attention now.' Another nod. "Well, I know he's been through so much and I was thinking..."


"But you didn't even hear what I had to say!"

"I already know what you were going to say. You were going to ask me to tell you if I knew anything about him that he didn't tell you. You didn't need to flower it up like how other pathetic maggots do when they want to ask something, but take years to get to the point."

"Oh..." Was all Sophia had to say. She shuffled her feet before asking, "How did you know I was going to ask that?"

"You're just as naive as that fool. It was written all over your face. Besides, I know you were asking the other idiots the same question, so logic would say that you would eventually come and ask me."

"I see..." Sophia answered, looking at the ground. Albel turned back to gaze out the window, totally ignoring Sophia's presence. After a minute of uncomfortable silence, Albel turned back to Sophia. "Well?"

"Well what?" Sophia asked, her gray eyes blinking.

"Are you finished or are you going to stand there looking at the dirty floor all day?"

Every instinct in Sophia's body told her that she wasn't going to get any more answers out of Albel than she already did. That she should apologize and walk out and just hope that Fayt would tell her in due time.

But instead, she blurted out, "Why are you with us?"

That seemed to catch Albel off guard. "What?"

"I mean, everyone else has a reason to be here. Maria, Fayt and me are here because of our genes. Cliff is here because of Maria and I think he wants to look out for us. And Nel is here because Elicoor II is a target as well.

"But you really don't have a reason to be here. I mean, you sort of implied that you came with us for more challenges when we were on the Diplo, but I don't think that's the case." She immediately regretted her words when Albel stared at her like she was mad. "I mean, I don't admit that may be part of the reason. It's just, you're so strong already and..."

'And now he probably thinks I'm an idiot,' She thought as he continued to look at her as if she had lost her mind. 'Heck, I don't even know what I was talking about...'

"You don't know..."

"What?" Sophia was startled that Albel was now standing. But that wasn't what took her off guard, it was the look in his eyes. 'He looks... sad. Defeated.'

"You don't know anything about me. So don't preach to me like you know my reasons."

"I..." Sophia started, chewing her bottom lip. "I didn't mean to stand on a soap box. I just thought that you surly had another reason to be with us all."

"And you expected me to pour my heart and soul out to you? Is that it?"

"No!" Sophia pouted and shook her head. "I mean, aren't there times you want to talk someone about what you're thinking or feeling?"

"And are you volunteering?"

"Um..." Sophia turned her head away, her cheeks flushing. This was not going at all how she thought it would. How did the conversation sidetrack so much?

A hand cupped her cheek and she found herself staring into crimson eyes. Funny, Sophia always expected the swordsman's hand to feel like ice. However, it was warm, just like everyone else's hand. She swallowed the lump in her throat.

"Um, well... I mean, if you ever did want to talk, I would be willing to listen. But only if you felt comfortable about it and all."

"Hmph." The warmth disappeared as Albel sat back down in his chair. He looked back up at the girl before him. "I would suggest that if you want to listen to someone talk, that you at least use their name."

A smile formed on Sophia's lips as she nodded. "I understand, Albel."

The swordsman only snorted back in response.