Setting: Outside Bevelle, pre-canon.
Theme + Number: #38, Scared (silly).
Rating: T, pushing M for language. It's still T if you hear it in the hallways of a middle school, say I.
Warnings: Implied m/m/m threesome, thus yaoi. Jecht's mouth.
Summary: Jecht had never been as scared in his life as he was the first time he fought a fiend.
Jecht would never admit it as long as he lived (or, Spira being the batshit crazy place it was, maybe longer), but the first time he fought a fiend he was so terrified he almost turned around and ran for it.
Fighting in Spira was nothing like the fighting he knew in Zanarkand. At home, he'd spent night after night when he was a kid looking for a fight on the streets. He knew that world, those brawls that you could set your watch by, though they were never scheduled, nothing ever said or written down. He knew midnight battles, fist against fist. This, this slavering monster in front of him, he didn't know.
He'd never fought to the death before. He hadn't realized it made so much difference.
It would have made him feel better if he'd been able to use his fists, the only weapons he knew. He could have faced the fiend, the thing that was like a dog but wasn't a dog, with confidence then. But bone and muscle didn't look so good when you were up against something that had more of both, and teeth and claws to boot. There'd been a time none too long ago when he'd been the best street-fighter in Zanarkand, and that was saying something. He knew that kind of fight, knew the strength of his muscles and the breaking point of his bones. He didn't know this. The hilt of his strange, new sword felt clumsy in his hand, and Jecht was uncomfortably aware that he had no idea what to do with it beyond "Hit them with the pointy bit". There had to be more to it than that, right? Not like stick-up-his-ass Auron would tell him if there was. He'd probably be just as happy if Jecht got his head bitten off. (He knew he wasn't being fair to Auron, but he was scared shitless and possibly about to die, so damned if he cared.)
Back in Zanarkand, his Zanarkand, the real Zanarkand, not whatever pile of rubble they were saying was his city, kids like him'd grown up knowing how to tell strength. He'd known before he was twelve how to tell when a guy was talking bigger than he really was, or when some quiet girl looked so unconcerned about being alone on the wrong side of town just 'cause she could wipe the floor with anyone who tried anything. He knew how to measure people.
Fiends, though, were a closed and locked book to him, one probably sunk at the bottom of the sea, no less. Maybe in Spira (stupid name for a place, anyway) kids grew up knowing how to tell the strong fiends from the weak ones, but he sure as hell couldn't. If he lived long enough (which he might, 'cause if Braska was the type to let anyone die on his watch without having a go at stopping it, not only had Jecht been reading the man all wrong, but Auron had too), he might learn the ways of telling the things apart, but just at the moment, facing off against the weird dog…wolf…thing, he hadn't the faintest shadow of a clue if he had a reason to be scared or not.
Jecht was really starting to hate Spira. It'd been years since he'd been scared at all, much less scared enough to seriously consider just getting the hell out of there and damn his reputation. He'd been fighting since he was a kid; it wasn't supposed to be so abso-fucking-lutely terrifying. It'd never been like this. But he was hundreds of miles and a thousand years away from home, armed with a weapon he had no idea how to use, staring at an enemy he had no way of comparing with anything he knew, and he was terrified. It looked like his regular adrenaline delivery'd gotten lost, too, 'cause he was just getting more scared with time.
He almost ran, then, just turned and ran for the city where he had at least some idea of the rules. But he didn't, for two reasons. First, he figured the fiend was as likely as not to leap at him the second he turned his back, and damned if he'd go down running from a fight. And second…
Second, Auron (who looked like he was out for a walk in the fucking park, the bastard, and probably thought he was) caught him looking for a way out and gave him a look that said, "You're not frightened, are you?" clearer than any words. Braska must have seen, but he didn't say anything, just looked at Jecht with a little smile like nothing could possibly go wrong, especially not anything that ended up with Jecht in a dozen half-chewed pieces. Jecht couldn't tell which look mattered more, but there was no way in hell he was going to disappoint Braska or prove Auron right, and that was the end of that.
So he gave Auron a "Who, me? Scared? You gotta be kidding!" look, flashed Braska his Daredevil Smirk Number Four, and concentrated on not making a complete fool of himself in front of them both.
Not making a fool of himself in front of them turned into Jecht's first goal. He didn't notice when it got more important than getting home. He didn't think about it, or what it might mean, either. That was what he and Auron had Braska for, to think about things like that so they didn't have to stress over it (not that Auron ever let that stop him, but Jecht figured he was just obsessive).
It was a good thing Braska did think about it, or they might never have gotten anywhere.