Thank you for the reviews, guys! And you got the colour: yellow. Wasn't hard, right? I don't think this one is either. It does have my favourite couple in it though (ya thought it was Zidag but it's nooottt :p ) Enjoy!

Part 2

She lifts the glass in her hand so she can consider her reflection. The sloshing liquid distorts her visage into something terrible, but it serves her purpose just fine so she uses her other hand to apply the lipstick. When she lowers the glass he's glaring across the table, and she fights to suppress a smirk.

"I hate that lipstick," he states on cue.

She clicks the lid back into place without looking, then drops it into her clutch bag. "I know," she tells him, and fails to keep the smugness from her tone.

"It makes you look like a cheap whore."

This time she does bristle, her smile crystallising beneath the insult. "Then I guess my appearance suits the environment."

Blank scowls over his beer. "This is a nice place."

"Sure, fer a hooker. When I said 'nice' I meant one o' them fancy places up Rose Square or – "

"I can't afford that shit," he growls through gritted teeth. "Just shut up and drink your goddamn wine."

Ruby stands so sharply that her glass topples sideways. It was an accident, but marvellously theatrical nonetheless, so she takes a moment to observe his anger and the wine dripping off the table and her untouched soup. She smoothes the dress he thought was sexy, then minces away with her nose tilted skyward.

It's still light outside, but the sun is slipping below the horizon and the sky is already aflame with brilliant colour. She stomps as best she can across the cobbles in her heels, just in case he's watching, but she thinks he's probably ordering another beer and will drink until the cows come home then will complain about a hangover in the morning. But will she listen? No. There'll be no one to listen because this time she's leaving and she really means it this time, she swears it, honest. Because no one on Gaia makes her angrier than Blank. Just looking at his stupid face makes her madder than a bull charging a matador's cape.

She is so busy thinking angry things that her whereabouts go unnoticed. Even though they went to a nice place (yes it was nice, she admits, though she will never tell him that) it is hailed by a trek across the shadier side of Lindblum. She hadn't considered it before because Blank had escorted her and he always makes her feel safe –

No! she catches herself quickly. He makes her angry and she's leaving this time and that's that.

Now she finds herself in an alley. The shadows are dark here, tainted fiery by the sunset. There are men halfway along, smoking cigarettes; the cherries glow and bob like demon eyes in the half-light. She grasps her purse nervously, wonders if she should turn back, but she is too stubborn and her anger makes her reckless.

Her heels clatter on the cobbles; broken glass crunches beneath their soles. Too loud. She smells the rancid odour of smoke and rotting garbage. The men are quiet and staring. Her heart races and her blood pounds.

"Hey – " one of them purrs and he grabs her wrist. "Hey, what are you doin' by your –"

She doesn't waste time on petty pleading. Ruby has grown up on these streets; she's not stupid. He does not finish his sentence because she sinks her teeth into his arm, lipstick smearing across his skin. He curses and lets go. She tries to run but there are another two men and in the end she's half their size in height and weight and cannot overpower them. She's shoved against the brick wall. The cigarette one man smokes tumbles from between his lips and burns her skin. She shrieks.

"Hey, motherfucker, why not pick on someone your own size?"

It's a funny thing to say, she thinks, considering Blank isn't particularly big. But when that thought goes away she's surprised by his incursion simply because he's never been much of a hero. He moans but he's obedient and in the end he gets the job done (the reason Baku favours him so). But in all honesty, she's just plain relieved (and a little angry – he's always late!).

He puts up a good fight, considering the odds. The men leave eventually because he refuses to give up or pass out. Ruby offers her assistance on the walk back but Blank declines and boasts commendable acting skills by hiding the obvious pain.

At the hideout, he perches moodily on the edge of the table as Ruby dresses his wounds. The skin around his left eye is swelling. His nose has stopped bleeding but there's still drops on his lip.

"Ah – ouch!"

She's pressed too hard but she doesn't apologise, just pouts and narrows her eyes and says, "Yer sucha fool. If yer hadn't taken me t' that restaurant all the way in the digs – "

"It was a nice place!"

"In a scummy neighbourhood!"

She finishes cleaning the cut on his eyebrow and sighs. "I guess we'll hafta spend the night in, then."

She goes to walk away but he grabs her wrist and kisses her, smudged blood mingling with smudged lipstick. He says, "Then we better make the most of it, hadn't we?"

She thinks they probably had, and decides that maybe he doesn't make her angry all the time.