Baralai, Gippal, Paine, NoojNotes:
This is oooooooold. Like "early last year while I was still trying to work out the characters" old, which is why the POV is... Well, it isn't. I'm not sure I like it, but I don't remember where I was going with it so I suppose I have to leave it be! [Crimson Squad era.]
"You really wanted to be a Crusader?" Baralai asked, sprawled across the sand with his eyes half-closed while Gippal smeared an Al Bhed potion over the claw-marks in Baralai's face. Sand crunched slightly, making them both twitch towards their weapons - but it was only Paine, hidden behind her sphere camera and shifting round to their side of the fire.
Gippal shrugged and picked up the potion bottle again, making a vague "Uh-huh" noise. "I told you, I'm 'not eligible.' So much for 'all who want to fight Sin' being welcome." He put a hand on Baralai's chin to tilt his head, getting the light on the rest of the cuts. "Stay like that, okay?"
Nooj - or at least the bundle of blankets where Nooj had been sitting since they made camp - chuckled to himself, startling everyone into reaching for weapons again. "You? You would never have made it as a Crusader."
Gippal jerked around, the potion bottle nearly dropping from his fingers. "What's that
supposed to mean?"
Nooj rolled over to face them, his smile sharp and crooked in the firelight. "It means you can think for yourself. That's not a trait the temples want them to encourage."
Gippal laughed, turning back to what he was doing. Baralai smiled, but he looked thoughtful, clearly turning something over in his mind.
Paine knelt in the sand with the camera still focused on Nooj for a long time, like she honestly thought he'd explain.