Wordcount: about 1000
Characters: Baralai, Nooj
Spoilers: Minor. Set post-game.
Notes: Written for the Alphabet Fic Meme, to renay's request of "Baralai/Nooj, rarities". Probably more gen than she was thinking, but the theme is there at least, if you turn your head sideways and squint a little. Let's just say this isn't exactly where the fic was planning to go when I started.it, although I'm pretty happy with where it ended up.
The door clicked shut behind the last of the Guado, and Baralai leaned back in his desk chair and rubbed his eyes. Why on earth had he volunteered to help broker their negotiations with the Ronso? No treaty was worth this level of aggravation.
The commsphere in the wall behind him started to make the jangling noise that he was already learning to hate. For a second, he considered ignoring it; then he considered tossing it out the window. He imagined the pleasure of ripping it out of its socket, hurling it through the glass, watching it fly through the air and then hit the bay of Luca, where it would sink beneath the waves, never to trouble him again.
It was a pretty dream, and he allowed himself to savor it. Then he reached out with his right hand, not opening his eyes, and tapped the infernal device just hard enough to take the call. "Yes?"
"Meyvn Nooj to see you, sir," came the nasal voice of his new assistant.
"Send him in." Baralai tapped the commsphere a second time to end the transmission, then sat up and pulled off his headband, combing through his hair with his fingers before setting it back in place. He didn't bother checking his reflection in the window glass -- he probably wasn't all that presentable, but Nooj had seen him in worse conditions.
The door opened to reveal first the assistant -- Baralai could not for the life of him remember the man's name; he would have to fix that problem sooner rather than later -- and then Nooj, leaning heavily on his cane. Nooj looked as tired and frustrated as Baralai felt, his eyes drawn, hair falling limply into his face.
"Have a seat." Baralai gestured to one of the chairs in the left-hand corner of the room, then raised his eyebrows at the aide, who got the message and pulled the chair closer to the front of Baralai's desk. Nooj lowered himself into the seat as Baralai nodded to the aide; he left, closing the door behind him. "So. I suppose I can guess from your expression how your side of the negotiations went today."
Nooj grunted an assent. "Save me from ever having to work with Ronso again. The Elder is affable enough, but those hot-tempered seconds of his... you're fortunate to have drawn the Guado."
Baralai's answering laugh was hollow. "You can believe that if you like." He shook his head with a sigh. "Let's just hope they're all getting it out of their system before we bring them together next week."
"Indeed." Nooj stiffened his back, raising his chin level with the floor. "But I didn't come here to rehash the events of today. I have something for you." He reached into his pocket and pulled out a sphere, then held it out to Baralai, who took it.
Baralai balanced the sphere on his palm, felt its weight. "What's on it?"
Nooj pushed his glasses up his nose. "It's the sphere of Shuyin and Vegnagun that the Gullwings stole from Kilika Temple and then delivered to the Youth League."
"Really?" Baralai jerked his head back in surprise; imperceptibly, he hoped, although from the smug quirk of Nooj's mouth that appeared, then vanished, he doubted it. "Why give it to me?"
"It's time." Nooj sat back in his chair and tapped the head of his cane with his index finger, the dull ring of the sound loud in Baralai's small office. "When you first suggested your plan to create a sphere library, I resisted the idea of collecting so much of Spira's history in one place."
Baralai held back a derisive snort. Resisted might be one way of putting it; that had been the first day of his own negotiations with the Youth League, and from Nooj's reaction to the idea, he had thought Nooj might walk away from the bargaining table and never look back. The suggestion had been withdrawn before the end of the hour. "I recall," he said.
Still tapping the cane, Nooj turned his head, looked out the window. "I've changed my mind. There's no logical reason not to create a single repository of spheres for potential researchers as long as it has a guardian that can be trusted." He turned back to meet Baralai's eyes. "And I trust you. To be that guardian, and to set up safeguards such that all future guardians of the library will be equally trustworthy." Nooj nodded at the sphere. "Let that be the first in your collection. I will make arrangements to have the rest of the Youth League's spheres to be sent to Bevelle directly."
"No." Baralai shook his head. "Not to Bevelle."
Nooj had started to rise from his seat, and he paused, half standing, and shot a quizzical glance at Baralai, raising an eyebrow.
"Not Bevelle," Baralai repeated. "The temples are too strongly associated with the keeping of secrets, with the destruction of history. I would not raise the specter of Yevon or of Trema. No. The sphere library will be here, in Luca. New Yevon and the Youth League will build it together, and together we will come up with a plan for its maintenance. And let that be a legacy that stands for a thousand years."
Nooj sank back down in his chair and said nothing for a long moment. When he moved again, it was to hold out his right hand. "Thank you for proving that I was right to trust you."
Baralai clasped Nooj's right hand, accepting the gesture of partnership. "And thank you for honoring me with that trust." He caught Nooj's eyes again, and smiled. "To the future."
"To the future," Nooj agreed. With a quick squeeze, he released Baralai's hand, then stood. "See you tomorrow."
"Good night," Baralai replied; once Nooj had left, he picked up the sphere again, and held it up to the window, picturing the building that would house this treasure and a thousand more, finally hopeful for Spira's future as well as its past.