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Written on June 25, 2019 (♋)

Author's Notes: Gafgarion is the best worst father figure, and I really enjoy how he spends that one battle at the end of Chapter 2 trying to talk Ramza through Zeakden and the aftermath. I also just occasionally want to write a piece that doesn't end in human suffering, and I felt like Ramza's gap year of being a mercenary was a good place to put something a little more light-hearted.

Rad has exactly the level of personality Rad warrants.


They usually met in less than reputable establishments to discuss potential clients. They were a less than reputable operation and they seldom seemed to have funds for more than reputable liquor. However, Ramza rapidly grew uncomfortable as it began to dawn on him just why every employee at this tavern was attractive, female, and clad somewhat impractically.

"Gafgarion..." he began cautiously "Why exactly did you bring us here?"

Rad raised an eyebrow as though he had hoped that the answer to the question should be obvious. Gafgarion, in the meantime, twirled one corner of his white mustache as he thought through an impending lecture.

"Kid," he began, "what is it I'm always telling you about this line of work?"

"That... um... a 'mercenary' doesn't begin with 'mercy' unless he's daft at spelling?" Ramza replied, recalling that he had been asked this question and offered this answer many many times before.

He smiled. "Ah! That was a good one on my part, but it wasn't quite what I was thinking of."

They were interrupted by the arrival of drinks and the very striking blonde who was carrying them. Gafgarion paused to inquire after somebody named Celeste, to offer his condolences regarding her recent misfortune, to down his own beverage, to ask for another, and then to repeat the process with Ramza's drink, which he assumed the boy didn't actually want and had only ordered to be polite. Newly flush with wine and the wisdom it surely instilled, he began again:

"You know... I've really come to think of you and Rod as... well almost like sons to me."

"His name is Rad."

"And he deserves a father who wouldn't have done that to him," Gafgarion said slapping his palm onto the table. "In any event, you boys need somebody to guide you though the vicissitudes of temptation in this cruel and cut throat world."

"So... you took us to a brothel?" Ramza asked incredulously. Rad coughed and looked off in the direction of the stairs.

"See, this is exactly my point, Ramza." Gafgarion continued. "You think of the upstanding young ladies here as a temptation. In reality..." He gestured somewhat grandiosely. "They are the cure to temptation--ministering angels here to cool a worried brain."

"I don't quite follow."

"Look, I'll tell you now. Our next job is going to involve us serving as escort to some women who are allegedly of high birth, notable beauty, and exquisite virtue."

Ramza gave him a look indicating that he still very much didn't quite follow. Rad gave him a look that he very much wanted to.

"What I'm hoping to instill tonight is an object lesson in how most of the many fine qualities of perfect womanhood are freely available with sufficient coin, and how coin is what we are getting in exchange for accompanying these ladies exactly as far as the terms of our contact demand and no further. I'm giving both of you an... ah... advance of sorts in the hopes that we can all remember the proper limits of involvement. We're in this for the cash: not for any hopeless dreams, sentimental moralizing, or misguided notions of chivalry."

Rad was grinning like a cat that had just eaten an entire Riovannese war steed. Ramza looked around the room, trying to think of some diplomatic way to register his discomfort and slip away back to their less than reputable inn by the docks. He utterly failed at this and soon found himself being pushed into a room done up with gaudy drapery and into the arms of the gaudily draped young redhead it contained.

~~~

The next morning, after he had bade his two young charges to sober up immediately and make all necessary preparations for a long ride for Orbonne, Gafgarion undertook to settle accounts, asking in as delicate a way as the situation warranted if either boy had been any trouble.

Ramza's companion snorted. "Trouble? If being bored out of my wits by some green lad's sensibilities qualifies as trouble, I suppose I had plenty of it. He wouldn't touch me."

"My apologies, madam. I assure you you'll still be paid."

"Spent the whole evening treating me like I was made of spun glass not to be handled roughly... acted like I was a princess or something."

"Oh God..." Gafgarion groaned. Despite himself, he paid her out an additional gratuity on top of her agreed upon rate.


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