Blue and black voile hung around the walls as ornamental drapery. A massive chandelier brightened the whole room. The lights glistened from the sparkly ribbon of matching colours that adorned the flowers arranged as centrepieces on three huge banquet tables, plates and cutlery ready for a large number of guests. The tables lined the walls of the astonishingly beautiful hall. An orchestra could be heard practicing at the front of the hall on a stage. There was a big empty space in the middle of the hall for dancing with a grand marble staircase spilling out onto it. The giant wooden doors opened and guests slowly came seeping in, wearing handsome black suits and beautiful dresses of all colours. They stood until the host appeared at the top of the staircase wearing a perfectly white tuxedo and a silvery blue masquerade mask that was shaped as a sun. He greeted and welcomed them, and so they took their seats. Waiters then appeared to prepare for the six course meal. However, one more guest walked through the doors and the place fell silent.
A long, lilac and white dress showed off slight curves and a thin body. The design was almost like a wedding dress. It fell to just above the ankles to reveal shiny silver slippers. Silver bangles rested on thin wrists and reflected the rich light. Purple and red makeup lightly framed the face. It looked so Cinderella-esque, like something straight from the pages of a fairy tale had it been a woman. The host of the party casually stepped down the staircase and crossed the hall, stopping just in front of this supposed intruder. The guests watched and waited in silence.
"Ah, Kuja, fashionably late as usual"
"You're lucky I turned up at all" The elegant man in the dress turned his head to the side, just noticing almost every pair of eyes on him. His long hair swept past his shoulders.
"Care to join me at the table?" The masked man gestured at the empty chair next to where he would be sitting.
"I don't appreciate the last minute invitation"
"Come, come!" Kuja was all but dragged to his seat by the man. Almost as soon as he sat down, the other people continued their conversations. His eyes began to wander to the other guests when the nearest conversation's starting point was about occupations. They narrowed as he saw something, or rather someone, which he didn't like. He leaned over to whisper to the man who basically forced him here in the first place.
"You promised me he wouldn't be here. I'm going home"
The man raised a hand to run through his short black hair before he remembered he was still wearing his mask.
"He won't be here for long; I'll get rid of him. Just enjoy yourself already" His eyes shifted to some of the guests standing up. "Why not dance? I'm sure there are plenty of people here that would be your partner"
"Hmph. I'm not in the mood for socialising with people who know him. The sight of him is sickening enough"
"Fine then, sit here. I don't have the time to listen to your bitching. There are some very important people here that I need to talk to" And with that, the man in the mask left Kuja sitting on his own.
Kuja had been waiting for about 10 minutes, but what seemed like an hour. He was drumming his fingers on the table, every second of being in that man's presence had him as angered as a wet cat. He was just thinking about the horrible rumours he could spread about him when a voice interrupted his thoughts.
"May I ask you for a dance?" A gentle-looking man in a black tux was looking down at him with a slight smile.
"Hmm? Oh, no thank you. I don't like dancing when this place is infested with rats..."
"Please? I insist that you come to dance. You look quite sad by yourself" A confused look washed over the man's face as he thought about that last part, but still held out his hand.
"...Fine..." A heavy sigh and then Kuja was on his feet, dancing with this random person before he knew it. He jumped, however, when he heard a whisper in his ear.
"Don't worry about the others. Pretend no one else is here. Just dance"
"There is no 'he', just you and me"
The man's arms wrapped around him securely. Kuja eventually rested his head on the man's shoulder in defeat as they danced slowly, so slowly he was almost drifting off to sleep. The music was so relaxing, the man was so warm, and slumber was so inviting. He opened his eyes just to check his surroundings when he saw something that really caught his eye. Something that looked like it was made of blue crystal could be seen through the tall window, and then it was accompanied by red crystal, then yellow crystal. They took the forms of so-called friends and foes from other worlds that Kuja vaguely remembered. Soon the figures almost entirely covered the window, but no one else had noticed. The blue crystal thing then raised what looked like a weapon and came smashing through the glass. The band suddenly stopped playing and the guests started to scream and run to the front of the hall. Kuja told the man he was with to join them. They came flooding through the window like a waterfall until Kuja was surrounded, just staring at him, which unnerved him.
"I can't have one day off... I just wanted one normal day..." Kuja muttered to himself.
He summoned hovering balls of magic around him, making a mental note to not look behind him at the horrified looks the guests were surely sporting. The doll-like monsters seemed to ready themselves for a fight, but they didn't prepare themselves enough for the power of Kuja's magic. He fired off spells of Holy and Flare carefully, shattering the manikins, but more appeared after a few seconds. He just kept destroying and they kept reappearing until he started to get tired. More still started to seep in and fill the rest of the hall, but Kuja had to limit his magic so no one would get hurt. Then, suddenly, a familiar yellow-haired person came swinging in, hanging from the luxury material on the walls.
"Hey, Kuja! Long time no see!"
"Oh great... Zidane... Can't you leave me be for one night? You always seem to show up just as I'm-"
Zidane landed just next to Kuja, already set for a battle with his weapons appearing in his hands. He wasn't exactly adhering to the dress code and had a furry yellow tail trailing behind him, wagging in anticipation. "No time to talk about that. Need a helping hand?"
"I don't need anything from the likes of you"
"Oh really? Got this under control then?"
"I don't need your assistance!" Kuja kept smashing them over and over again, but they reappeared almost instantly, slowly getting closer to him and raising their weapons. Half an hour passed before Kuja started to get exhausted. Zidane kept an eye on him and jumped to his feet when he noticed Kuja getting worn out.
"I really think I should step in, you're starting to look-"
"Just hurry up and get rid of them!"
Zidane smiled at Kuja, who glared back before swiftly moving in to smash the manikins. However, they didn't work together.
"Out of the way!"
"I can handle this!"
Kuja growled as Zidane kept attacking targets he was aiming for. He knew he wouldn't be able to make hurting Zidane look like an accident... He didn't have time for it anyway. He still had to control his spells, even when there was a thick ring of enemies around them. One misplaced attack could bring down the entire hall, and he couldn't risk the masked man getting hurt, although it would be delightful if he was the cause of the death of the man he despised.
"Zidane, as much as it pains me to say this... We have to work together. You take the left side and I'll cover here"
"Sounds like a plan!"
Zidane jumped around to cover Kuja's back, who mumbled something about him showing off. They successfully covered each other for a while, but before long, the manikins had become more resilient and were closing in on them. Two of them spawned for every one downed, and soon the two found it hard to even move. Zidane was just about to mention that the puppets weren't attacking when a Warrior of Light manikin cut its sword into Zidane's arm, then rushed into him, knocked him back to the floor and pinned him against the cold marble. Its shield pressed hard against his chest, the doll's face was so close to his and it kind of looked like it was smirking.
"Kuja! Help fast!"
"Ugh... I'm quite occupied myself, you know"
A carefully-placed Seraphic Star shot towards Zidane, freeing him after tiny shards fell down around him. He looked around, the manikins were spread so far now that they were almost climbing on top of each other. He could see that the remaining people in the hall were standing on the stage, frozen to the wall.
"This isn't working, you're gonna have to use Ultima!" A slight hint of panic made itself known in Zidane's voice.
"I can't do it here, there are too many people. We have to lure them outside," Kuja said, looking at the window, "so I'll get them to follow me while you move everyone to the back of the building. Meet me out there when you've finished"
"Okay, see ya!" Zidane sprang up and landed balancing on the heads of a couple of manikins, then used them as stepping stones to get to the stage and ushered the guests out of the building. The masked man seemed very reluctant to leave his hall, so Zidane ended up literally shoving him out of the door and locking it with a metal pole through the handles.
Meanwhile, Kuja levitated up towards the broken window, all the while making sure all his foes were following him and not trailing off. A few rings of Holy kept their attention, and Kuja eventually led them to a safe distance away from the hall. He hovered there, with his balls of magic still swirling around him, until he could see Zidane running from around the corner. He slowly drifted down to a clear area in front of the ever-growing puppet army as Zidane stopped just in front of him.
"They're covering a bigger area now, so I'll aim for the middle. Please try to do something helpful to kill off any manikins here..."
"I'm on it!"
Kuja nodded at Zidane, then flew up over the group. He took a few deep breaths and energy spiralled and curled around him, spinning and twirling until it finally gathered to be a brilliant light around Kuja, enveloping him like a bubble, the same also happening to Zidane. The manikins could only look on in silence and confusion. The light then burst, revealing red fur like velvet decorating most of Kuja's body. He closed his eyes and concentrated deeply, his tail swaying slightly, more energy whirling around him as he readied his strongest spell. He could hear the energies from Zidane's Stellar Circle already, so he had to be fast. The white swirls changed to a deep purple and soared up to the sky. Large purple spheres rained down onto the hordes of manikins, making it look like colourful fireworks as Ultima caused a small explosion. It lasted for only a few seconds as it drained the last of Kuja's strength. With a quick flash, he turned back into his normal self. He stayed floating in the same spot for a second as he checked how the enemy was faring, and they had been completely eradicated. He sank down in what felt like slow motion while he began to experience fatigue, feeling more and more tired. His eyelids drew heavy and he wondered why he couldn't feel the cold ground already, but instead he heard two voices calling his name in a panic. Sleep then took him away to rest.
Kuja awoke a few hours later to the sound of a kettle and two familiar voices. He then heard a door open and close before he could open his eyes. When he did, he saw Zidane leaning over him and just stared at him. Zidane smiled down at him whilst pulling up the duvet. Kuja just glared at him and sat up.
"What are you doing and why am I in this... place?"
"Well, you seemed a bit tired. And that guy with the sun thing on his face booked us into a hotel. How do you know him anyway?"
"That's none of your business" Kuja slumped back into the bed. "Do you mind? I'm still tired"
"Well, if you hadn't noticed," Zidane said, dragging out his words, "there's only one bed, and I went into Trance too, y'know"
"And I don't have anywhere to sleep!"
"The floor is good enough for you. Now quiet"
Zidane mumbled something about Kuja being a stingy bitch, then curled up in the corner like a cat after stripping down to his underwear and using his shirt as a blanket. He looked up at Kuja a final time and saw that he was probably asleep by now. He trembled from the cold slightly, but steadily fell asleep.
A few hours later and Zidane felt a chill creeping over him which woke him up suddenly. His body shivered and he quietly stood up, forgetting about his shirt which fell to the floor. He got an idea which probably wouldn't work, but he decided to give it a try anyway. He climbed on top of the bed and curled up near Kuja's legs, feeling his warmth seeping through the covers. He quite easily managed to get back to sleep.
He didn't notice, however, that Kuja was awake too. After being very sure that Zidane was asleep, he slipped out of bed and stretched his legs. He reached down to the blanket at the bottom of the bed and covered Zidane with it, tucking him in so he would be nice and warm. He then kneeled on the floor and gently kissed him goodnight, but oddly, on the lips. He stared at him for a few minutes, watching how he moved in his sleep, before he carefully got back into bed and fell asleep.