Faris had never really liked spending too much time with the White Mage crystal, and not just 'cause White Magic weren't as fun as smashing things with swords; the crystal had always made her feel just a little bit uncomfortable, as it wrapped her up in generations of memories: all th' echoes of healing hands and peaceful spells. It just felt slightly off to her, because it was a crystal for a lady – a graceful lady with gentle hands and a soft voice that floated like feathers, somebody like Lenna who wore flowers in her hair and every gesture she made was its own blessing. Not a scallywag pirate who'd always been more comfortable in pants than robes, better with bawdy jokes and dirty words than murmured prayers. It just didn't fit, not for Pirate Captain Faris; she just weren't a natural healer, and that was the way of things.
But she and Butz were getting their rightful arses kicked – and wasn't this glorious; they'd sailed the sea for eight weeks straight to come on this untouched island, and it was full of godsbedamned fiends and no treasure in sight – and he'd tossed her the crystal this morning with that look in his eye. Faris knew it was because she'd mastered the Monk – now that was a crystal for getting yer old hands dirty – and there weren't nothing in battle like a White Mage who could still pack a punch. Faris eyed the crystal, warily; she hadn't ever gotten far with this one, and part of her uncanny dislike of it was a strange fear that once she'd mastered the thing it'd swoop her up into skirts and staves and jewels, all gentle curves and gleaming hair, and not a single blade in sight. Lenna'd been a glorious mage, beautiful in her power; Faris just felt ridiculous, and unsettled, and a little bit wrong.
She heard Butz making his own crystal change, and sighed, and fisted the White Mage crystal in her hand, waiting for that chorus of voices, murmuring like the seas at sunset. The light flashed – but instead of that usual sense of squeezing into an uncomfortable and foreign shape, Faris heard laughing: the gentle chuckle of what sounded like a wise old lady. The crystal light wrapped around her body, but rather than a transformation, it was a reveal: the light slipped into her instead of the other way around, becoming a part of her instead of fitting Faris to its own shape, and a definite sense of amusement flickered through her mind where the crystal's power lay. And then, a flash – direct enough to not be mistaken – a distinct sense of well, fine, then, how is this?
It was the most comfortable this crystal had ever been. Faris looked down; it was the same robe, white trimmed with red, the old mark of a medic, but the body beneath it wasn't willowy and delicate: certainly wasn't the strong muscled body of a Monk, but it felt solid, stable, dependable. Faris turned in a circle, lifted her hands and flexed one broad palm. Aye, she could feel the changes, sure thing. Apparently not every White Mage in the history of the crystal had been female.
Not bad. Not bad at all.
Faris bent to gather her things from their campsite, all the while feeling the new planes and angles in the body the crystal had shaped. The feeling of comfort only improved. Maybe she still weren't a natural healer, but this felt more natural, the shape of this body easily sliding into her own perceptions, the usual awkward barriers missing. Hard planes, rather than soft curves, and it suited her better. It felt less unsettling, at least, and Faris paused for a moment, parsing that: that the body of a man were better than bein’ a lady White Mage, for her own self, anyway.
Butz tumbled around the corner and she glanced up, sharply, wondering whether the changes would show in her face – laughing, a little, wild and nervous at the thought of surprising Butz with this new development: with this strange unnamed thing they’d started, resting small but bright between them; would he – mind?
"Hey," said Butz, and then he blinked a little. "Hey. That's new."
Faris swallowed, her new throat tight. For a moment – stretched long and tense – they just looked at each other.
A smile broke out on his face, and he laughed. "Convenient."
"Ye don't-" Faris found the voice in her new throat lower, deeper; it rumbled warmly in her chest. "Ye don't sound concerned."
Butz shrugged. "You always look so stiff when you're a White Mage," he said, and as usual his perception astounded Faris, the way he noted things she didn't think anyone else saw. "If this helps you kick some more tonberry ass, I'm all for it."
Faris snorted. "Narrow-minded landlubber. Ye only think o' one thing, and that's treasure."
"Like you're any different," Butz returned, grinning as he slung his pack onto his back. "Now come on, White Mage, sir, let's go kick some butt and get some booty."
"Ugh." Faris groaned as she stood. "'Tis the worst speech of any pirate I've ever sailed with. I should rinse your mouth wi' salt water."
Butz just stuck out his tongue and laughed. As they headed off into the brush to fight their way towards the center, he reached out to squeeze Faris' hand, just once. Faris grinned, fiercely, and thought: maybe I can stay a White Mage for a little while.