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Smells like Chocobo?
(2013-01-21 - 2013-01-22)
Avira finds something that is not a chocobo at all.
Avira Chocobos are everywhere!

Unsurprising, given the name of this place. They gather in huge flocks, pecking away at the greens and shoots these grasslands were rich in. Most are of the usual garden 'yellow' variety but mixed in there were a few with red plumage. The red was a warning sign for these particular birds were dangerous. These particular birds were proficient in the dread 'chocobo meteor.'

With her belly pressed against the ground and her face smudged with dirt, Avira waits, watching the flock as they peck their way through a tough bit of grass. The girl has been out here for hours, stalking and watching these creatures, studying their behavior and movements. She'd yet to try approaching them.

It's quite possible that she was here to tame one of the beasts, though it stood to reason-wouldn't she have done so by now?
Maximilien "They will not trust you if you do not trust them, you know."

The heavy French accent, like the Frenchman himself, just sort of comes out of thin air; before Avira likely knows what's going on, he's just sort of standing behind her, hand in his coat pocket, cane tucked under his arm, looking past her at the chocobos. He's quite a tall man, too; the last time they met was under duress, so Avira probably didn't quite realize exactly how tall he is.

Maximilien glances down. "I admit that your good looks are hardly marred by a little dirt, but I think, madamoiselle, you would do far better standing...there are much easier ways to catch a chocobo, you know, and far less dirty to boot."
Avira This focused, this intent on paying attention to her surroundings, Avira surely should have heard the approach of the Phantom Thief. And yet, as her mind reviews that last few seconds prior to him speaking to her, she cannot recall a single sign or warning that Maximilien had arrived. Nevertheless, her initial reaction is to immediately flip herself onto her back and curl up her legs, as if she's going to kick them out at anyone who advances on her grounded form.

Next to Max, Avira is downright tiny-dwarf-sized even! "M-Max! Don't startle me like that." she says, breathing out as she pulls herself up into a sitting position. Looking embarassed, she glances over her shoulder, "I'm not trying to catch one, just...watching them. Trying to 'learn' them, I guess you can say? In the same manner I did those wolves."

Max would definitely remember those wolves that had appeared during their little picnic and gathered around her. It was certainly not an effect of her mutated form back then. "...though maybe I should catch one, I suspect it's getting late. What brings you all the way out here?" Her mind goes through possible targets that may have caught Max's eye, but none come to mind as something worthy enough for the Frenchman.
Maximilien "Severe boredom, combined with impressively ferociously aggressive wanderlust, whimsy, and random happenstance." Max waves his gloved hand gently before it settles back onto the cane. "As it so happened, I was simply out for a walk and wound up walking here."

Max taps his finger against his cane lightly; he spins it out into his palm, pointing it at the chocobos. "I wonder why you have chosen such an animal. Is it influence from that wolf of yours? I should think there are many better animals to learn from in this this world especially. So many strange and fanciful beasts here, non? Marlboros, why the chocobo?" His cane stabs down into the ground, and he leans on it, putting all his weight on it to lean forward and smile at Avira. Even cutting his own height by a good bit, he's still ludicrously tall...and really, really thin.
Avira "Then it's fate that we met~" Avira teases, picking herself up off the ground. She drops her head down and brushes dirt off of her pants and hip armor pieces. "I certainly don't have a problem with this." She smiles at him, then lifts one of her hands to rub a fingerless-gloved palm against a smudge of dirt on her neck.

"That wolf? You mean Skoll? No, this is my choosing. And, well...this is a skill I'm still very new at. Going after dragons or-" she shudders, "...marlboros is going to end badly for me! I have a hard enough time just fighting one of those in a group. Besides..."

Avira turns around to squint at the grazing chocobo flock. After a moment of looking, she points off in the distance to a red-feathered chocobo. "Those ones right there are pretty dangerous. They know magic."

She turns back to him to find him leaning forward at her. Her eyes meet his and she goes still, ", I never noticed how tall you are."
Maximilien "I suppose it is," Max agrees, taking her hand in his own and bringing it up to his lips briefly. He releases it a moment later, his usual smirk plastered across his face; he glances over at the chocobos, but they're spared little thought, a brief and passing notice. "C'est la vie, madamoiselle, c'est la vie. It works in mysterious ways."

"Do you believe in fate?" He asks after a moment, his eyes still on hers as he asks; as she reaches up to rub the smudge of dirt, he tsks, drawing a handkerchief out of his pocket. Notably, it is not his, unless his initials changed very drastically in the last ten minutes. He reaches out with the white thing, brushing it along her neck gently; then he tucks it back into his tuxedo jacket. "I never have, myself. Too much like letting other people take responsibility for what I do. I may be in a profession full of avoiding responsibility, but at least I believe in dealing with my own consequences, oui? Even if dealing generally means avoiding."

Max's lips quirk upwards in a wry grin. "Or perhaps you are simply tiny. I understand that men prefer women shorter than they; I certainly have yet to find many taller than me, so I will assume that that is true, lacking in any other experience with which to weigh it against."

"So are you simply hoping to learn their magic, or are you looking for some inspiration, some...spark to further your own ideas?"
Avira Perhaps to Max's disappointment, Avira doesn't get terribly flustered when he goes to the motions of kissing her hand. Indeed, this was actually expected behavior from Max. That roguish smirk, on the other hand, does earn himself a brief flustered look. Ugh what is wrong with her, did she really like scoundrels?

"I don't know anymore." Avira admits, a troubled look on her face. "For a long time I didn't. That everything in my life was my fau-er, doing. But out here and having met the likes of Will Sherman, I really think there might be."

Her eyes fall upon the handkerchief which, Avira astutely notes, possesses monogrammed initials that do not belong to him. Now which rich sap was that snatched from? Now while she restrained reaction to the original kiss to her hand, this, she cannot help but redden ever so slightly over.

It's gone soon enough. "I too like to think that I am the master of my own future." she smirks, "I don't like...limiting myself."

A laugh escapes her and she turns her head slightly to the side to eye Max. "Well, yesssss, I do think that's part of it. Me being tiny that is. Well, is it true? Do you prefer women to be shorter than you?"

She gestures at the chocobos again, "I want to learn their language. I want to learn the language of the beasts, Max, and compel them to fight with me like those wolves will. It's an interesting skill I've heard about in these parts of the world."
Maximilien He's not really disappointed, at least not visibly. The man's closed up tighter than Fort Knox and harder to read than Sumerian dialect; the only thing on his face is that half-cocked, self-assured, unmoving but /movingly/ smug grin. It's the sort of grin normal people (and Cirra) want to slap in the face, the sort of smug smirk that makes people wonder if he's really that arrogant or actually that good. Coupled with that neutral, open stance, it's easy to see why people might, on their first reaction, think he is a GIGANTIC JERK.

"I think that you should not confuse the unique magic of a homeless man for a universal truth," Max points out cheerfully, tucking his cane back under his shoulder; it pokes out from underneath the opera cape in the back, brushing aside the black-and-gold fabric gently. "But if you truly believe in fate, it would be nice for me to be in yours, mmm~?"

Max's smirk turns into a full-fledged grin a moment later. "I would say that, oui, madamoiselle, I do indeed like women who are shorter than I am. Much shorter, preferably...mmm...six inches or more? There is something...advantageous...about a woman being so easy to hold." He steps forward, leveraging that whole...ridiculously tall thing to his advantage. "A small woman is easier to hold in your arms...easier to carry...easier to dance with. Though I admit there are certain advantages to a taller woman, I feel the advantages of the tiny outweigh those of the tall."

He takes her hand, moving to spin her around against him, so she can look at the chocobos and lean on his stomach. "I cannot imagine that birds and beasts have anything particularly interesting to say, madamoiselle...but if you feel it is so useful, I can only imagine what you might find."

"So...what are they saying~?"
Avira To add to this unfortunate-ness of that actually reminds Avira a little bit of her ex-boyfriend. This goes completely uncommented upon, of course. No need to dig out THAT skeleton on the closet and Avira does a spectacular job of not really letting on that there might be an ulterior motive to her reaction to that.

A faint "Tsk." is heard from the huntress as the tall man chides her for putting so much stock in Will Sherman. "You would say that, wouldn't you? The two of you are like opposite sides of a coin. Listening to you two exchange barbs always brings a bit of happiness to my day." Her eyes fall to that cane, a confused look upon her face. For show, maybe? She's seen this man move, he can easily walk on his own.

There's a demure smile upon her face as Max waxes poetic about the benefits of smaller women. "Very true, we are a good deal more portable. You're fortunate, then, to be THAT tall."

There's no resistance from the huntress when he takes her hand to spin her. There's a moment of confusion before she realizes what must be done, having seen this motion only in television shows, and she twirls in a circle before he pulls her against his body. Avira leans against him and Max can feel her heart pounding rapidly, suggesting he's undeniably having an effect on her despite her attempts to keep her cool around this ridiculously charming man.

Though her explanation of the beastmaster class doesn't seem to be getting through, unless he's clearly teasing her for her extracirricular activities. "Oh, it is a useful skill. When you speak their language you can tame them." Avira pipes up, sounding a teeny bit defensive now. "They...uh..."

The huntress leans forward just a little towards the herd, which has migrated away from both humans. "They're saying..." she smirks. "...nom nom nom nom."
Maximilien It is probably a good idea to keep that particular bit of information to Avira's self, because the man really doesn't need another stroke of his ego. If he's even half as good as he apparently /thinks/ he is, he's probably damn near unstoppable. Then again, if he's half as good as he apparently thinks he is, he'd probably still have the Dusk Shard, and wouldn't've given it back just because he was asked nicely by a pretty lady in a slinky dress.

"Let us just say that I do not particularly think that an ancient homeless man is the arbitrator of my fate, and that I do not put all /that/ much stock into anything outside my own control, mmm?" He tucks her hand against her stomach, laying his own hand over hers and tapping it gently. He spins his cane out, setting it down in front of her and getting his other arm around her as well; this close, she'd be able to see that the cane has a number of little hidden buttons, switches, things that could easily be passed over as details if one didn't know his real job. It's also carved down with strange symbols; again, if one didn't know, they'd assume it just decoration, but Avira's been around the block long enough to know that they're magic symbols.

"Ah, je m'excuse...but you seem quite nervous, madamoiselle. Your heart is pounding through my the chocobos make you so worried~?" Yeah, he's just messing with her, that's for sure.

"I certainly do strike me as more of the /tamer/ than the /tamee/, mmm? I suppose it is tremendously appropriate for you to...gather yourself a herd~." Max leans down - way down, he's pretty flexible! - and mumbles near her head. "It is unfortunate...I have, after all, always seen /myself/ as the tamer..."

"Nom~. Nom~. Nom~."

Then he straightens back up. "So are you terribly close to learning to speak chocobo?"
Avira Well...that guy is an /ex/-boyfriend for a reason.

"Though I am a friend of Will Sherman, this is something I can agree with. I do not like the idea of he being in control of my fate...fortunately, I don't think he actually can do that. He can pluck strings and see threads, but does he really have sway over anything else?" Avira inclines her head downward when she sees him moving her hands and placing his arms around her-oh, oh dear. Quite a few things suddenly spring to mind, amongst the observations she makes of his cane. Because he is a super suave Phantom Thief, she does pay special attention to these oddities. The weird symbols hold her attention for a little bit longer though.

"Runes?" she ventures, reminded of her earlier discussion with him about her dreams. "So you know some mystic arts? They seem familiar to me, I swear I've seen them on weapons." Avira glances to the leather pouches upon her belts at her waist while she's looking.

Part of her is wondering if this closeness is more than just teasing. He might be looking to plunder something from her! Sadly for him, it's filled with potions and munny. No monogrammed handkerchiefs here.

"Ah..." Avira clears her throat and tries to command herself to calm. It doesn't work, especially not with his arms around her like that. "No...just..thinking of someone, is all."

In that moment, she tries to scramble to their other thread of conversation, but it seems to offer no solace, though it starts innocently enough. "Well of course! That is the point of being a beastmaster!" Then he leans down and murmurs in her ear.

She shivers and tries to nudge him away, "Maximilien! Stop that, you're...distracting me."

Flustered now, she mentally flails for a moment before hitting uCome here!"

Every chocobo on the plains suddenly lifts their head and turns to stare in Max and Avira's direction. They get about one second of delay before every single one of them takes off, running at them both. Incoming chocobo stampede!

Avira's eyes widen. "Guess so."
Maximilien So he is.

"I honestly have never believed that anyone but me has control over my luck or my fate. He might influence the...the die rolls, so to speak, but..." Max waves his cane a bit, pointing it forward. The jewel on the end might be materia! "I have and will always be a man who makes my own luck...and stacks the deck in my favor, of course. Fortune favors the bold /and/ the prepared, and Lady Luck is a harsh mistress. For example..."

He flips the cane horizontally so she can look at the runes better. Yes, they are indeed runes, from all over the place - magical inscriptions from nearly every place in the World of Ruin that had them. "My delightful little walking stick. Oui, madamoiselle; I have always found it prudent to have as many tricks as I possibly can, and I am a frightfully fast learner in this sort of thing. You would be surprised what you can pick up with a few questions and a good disguise, and the right, absent-minded teachers. So many...useful little tricks."

His hands haven't left her hand since he placed it on her stomach; nothing's missing, and she's not going to walk out with her pocket picked! He's above that sort of thing. Not above messing with her head, but above petty pickpocketing of people he actually likes. "Thinking of someone? Should I be jealous~? Perhaps I will have to pluck a kiss from your lips to keep your attention, mmm?"

Then she speaks Chocobo, and every single chocobo in the field looks up. Max tries very hard not to laugh. "We ought to run, madamoiselle; find a small cliff and lay in it, and they will run right over us!" He takes off, grabbing her hand in his, his cane tight in his other hand, laughing all the way.
Avira Her eyes track the cane as he waves it for now that she's seen it up close, she's become terribly interested in it. Clearly recalling Max referring to himself as a pacifist previously, this tool is obviously meant to make up for such a choice. "Now there's absolutely nothing wrong with being prepared. A fair fight is very hard to win, after all. Fair fights don't really apply in our lines of work, do they?"

Her brown eyes roam over the inscriptions, recognizing some from various regions she's visited in the World of Ruin. Still more are alien to her. "How clever of that a float rune? And that gem on the tip...the mist flows oddly around it, but it's not magicite-oh, materia, I see it now."

Max continues to be a tease and to his next threat, Avira responds a bit more vocally, "That's right, and he would certainly not approve!" Though maybe the other guys could get some tips from the Frenchman so they would hold her like this. Terribly unfair!

Timely chocobo intervention seems to be averting this issue for now. "Running is highly recommended! Have you been kicked by a chocobo before, Max? I have and it /hurts/!" she yelps, tugged along only for a few steps before she too is running. Despite having a distinct disadvantage in short little midget legs, compared to Max's no doubt far longer strides, she's easily able to keep up with him.

Good thing, that, because the chocobos can run very fast and are very soon crowding and running past them. There are several small cliffs up ahead-the kind that would inexplicably block an adventuring party from collecting a piece of loot atop of below them. "There!" Avira points ahead, "Or there!"

With her free hand, Avira also points at a large oak tree up ahead, perfect for climbing to escape.
Maximilien Max, is, indeed, quite fast. Very *very* fast. So he's kind of impressed by Avira being able to keep up with him; his laughter echoes through the plains as he and Avira run, his hand tight in hers. If they get separated, they're dead. Dead, dead, dead, dead. The chocobos would just swarm and crush them. So he keeps his hold on her tight, as they round over the hill. "I will defer to your expertise, madamoiselle~!" Max shouts merrily as the chocobos begin to pass them by. "But when it comes to hiding, I think mine is, allons-y!"

His cane snaps outwards, runes glowing blue along the side as Mist slips into them; a moment later, FLOAT surrounds Avira, and he somewhat unceremoniously tosses her over the little ridge - the FLOAT spell apparently being necessary to lift her, because Max is not the sort of muscleman one might associate with tossing people. Then he follows her down, laying out on top of her as the chocobos go thundering over, and he laughs again, hooking his arms around her neck.

"We really must keep meeting like this, madamoiselle. I think you look your loveliest in the were made for the wild, and it for you."

The laws of physics mean the chocobos will pass overhead...but how long will they be stuck like this before the chocobos are all gone?!
Avira Chocobo feet are serious business. Registered lethal weapons in some cities, no less. (Fortunately, chocobo are exempt from the licensing rules.)

She was off to a good start, though with each passing second it becomes more difficult to keep up with Maximilien. The exertion is pretty obvious on her face and Avira quickly starts to sweat. For the sake of not getting trampled, though, she keeps running.

Seeing the birds catching up only makes her run a little faster. Suddenly, her feet are no longer touching the ground and it actually takes her a second to realize he's placed the FLOAT spell on her.

So this is how the 'harmless yet in the way ridge' problem is solved! Avira is flung, though it actually doesn't take that much effort. She's tiny and, of course, very portable. With all her gear on she does weigh quite a bit more, especially with that "sword" of hers. "Eek!"

As if that wasn't jarring enough, Max drops down on top of her. He's definitely not as heavy as she was expecting, now that she thinks about it. Wiggling, she scoots upwards so she can peek her head out around his and watch the chocobo leaping overhead. Dirt and grass go flying as they do and Avira must squint her eyes shut at a few points to protect them.

This isn't so bad, actually-at least until Max wraps his arms around her and resumes teasing. Now she is bright red and struggling to make words. "W-well you're certainly not made for the wild-" she tries to counter, "-a fancy person like you is definitely out of place here."

Well...there could be worse positions and worse people to be stuck with.
Maximilien "Oh, I do not know about that. It is so very hard to find a person in a city, but not impossible; faces get picked up every day, and even a master disguise artist can slip. But out in the one knows where you are. No one knows where to find you. The world belongs to you alone...and whoever you are sharing it with, of course." Max's lips quirk upwards, and he gets /very/ close to her own lips - not quite touching, but close enough. His eyes are a very bright color, too. Very...very bright. The thunderous noise of the chocobos racing over them is meaningless; time might as well have stopped around them, these two unimportant little humans doing unimportant little human things. In the grand scheme of things, the world would forget they were even there.

"I did not know that a sneak-thief was your type, madamoiselle...I figured you for someone more...above the board. You have that rough-hewn honesty about you...the look of a woman whose beauty shines through her scars, through the hardships of life...not a woman who sneaks about and hides and lives the life I live."

Then again, the current (major) object of his affection lived her life much the same, and was a hell of a lot more /violent/ than Avira was. "You live an honest life...perhaps some dishonesty here and there, but you have earned your way, earned your strength, the way a woman with your eyes should. They are lovely eyes, Avira. I hope very much you keep them; not enough people in this world are still honest."

Is that hypocrisy, a meaningless compliment, or something else? Max reaches up, briefly brushing her hair back, and tucks them a bit closer to the ridge as the chocobos start landing a little closer to his legs. The downside of being so tall!
Avira Were there not the threat of chocobos baring down and crushing bones literally hanging above them, there might be a good deal more squirming on Avira's part right now. The teasing gives way to somehing a bit more...unexpected.

For a few seconds, she actually thinks he's going to steal a kiss. Won't Mercade be mad! She actually hesitates to say anything right now to prevent just that. At this close, she can easily look into those bright eyes of his...unnaturally bright, even. Like a moth drawn to the light, she seems unable to look away, giving Max the opportunity to look into her own.

Hers are downright normal. Or...honest, as Max astutely puts it.

"It isn't my type." she says firmly, managing to get ahold of herself for those few moments. "I'm also not accustomed to having attractive French men teasing me, Maximilien, Phantom Thief or not. ...are you suggesting that you sneak and hide from the hardships of your own life?"

She's clearly quite flattered, however, by his comments. There were few people that recognized her struggle and since she didn't exactly advertise her own growth, it took someone very observant to pick up on these things. "People don't usually notice." she says quietly, "You are fantastic at studying people. No wonder you push my buttons so well..."

His own eyes, juxtaposed with the comment of her eyes, does make her wonder. One of her arms snakes free and, perhaps for the first time, she actually returns that contact, with a thumb upon his cheekbone. "What does that make your eyes, Max? All I see is brightness."
Maximilien Max doesn't comment on her inquiry about hiding from his own life. He was fiercely, fiercely private; the person who knew the most about him in the world was /Cirra/, and she knew more than he intended because of a slip of the tongue. He wasn't about to make the same mistake here, not when he'd already done so with a far more (directly) (personally) dangerous woman. Avira was fierce, but she wasn't actively interested in his harm, after all. Clearly, or he wouldn't even be in this sort of position with her.

His smirk grows a bit wider as she mentions that he's good at studying people. "People usually don't notice," he parrots good-naturedly, "They are so busy wanting to know about me, they rarely realize that I am picking them Deception is so much more than lying...lying is easy. People fall into lies so easily because they are easy to rely on. Misdirection...sleight-of-hand...the little tricks of deception are so much harder. No one wants things to be difficult in this world."

Max leans down, pressing his lips to her ear. "I only want things to be difficult. I suspect you feel the same...that hunger for something more than the world you came from...the desire to see how far you can go before you can go no more in a dangerous, fearsome profession..."

He straightens, just a bit, so that he's back looking into her eyes. "What does it make my eyes, Avira~? Perhaps you should tell me...what do you think my eyes are?"
Avira A lack of acknowledgement for her comment could easily be taken as admission. Avira's inclined to believe so since it is rather interesting that the bold and forward Maximilien will not respond to such an observation. Not even to note that it was rude!

The thought actually brings a small smirk to her face.

"Flattery will get you everywhere, won't it?" She interjects neutrally as he waxes poetic about his own methods, "So this is your reason for wanting to meet in person, is it? To pick me apart?" Given how talkative she was over the TDA frequency, this was likely more of a confirmation than anything. Like a scientist, gathering data to analyze, poking at things to see how they react. Poking at /her/.

The whispered words earn a shiver, not just because the closeness of his contact, but with how impressively spot-on they are. "Yes." she admits with a whisper, "That is exactly where I want to take myself."

Thankfully, he moves away so she can look him in the eyes again. By now, the stampede has started to die down, but Avira doesn't even notice it. All she sees, right now, is those eyes and the longer she looks... "...I think they're a lure. They're so beautiful, so striking, who can resist looking into them? And if they're looking at your eyes, then they aren't looking at your hands or anything else..." Avira's eyes shift to where he holds his cane, " may have on you."
Maximilien "Partially," Max murmurs. "I enjoy it. Picking, poking, prodding at the another life, perhaps I was a scientist, or a magus, or a detective." He laughs.

"Perhaps I used my gifts for justice, for the betterment of all mankind. Perhaps I was clever enough to truly make a difference in the world, one of the greats...or perhaps I languished in madness and obscurity, never recognized, never understanding my gifts." He purses his lips, again coming very very close to hers; his eyes never waver, never move, two bright lights in the shadow of the few remaining stampeding chocobos. "But that is not the only reason I wanted to meet you in person."

"I told you before that women are art, that a woman's beauty is like a painting, to be appreciated and enjoyed. Do you think that I am the sort of man who can appreciate art simply by looking at it? Or that beauty is only skin-deep?"

He chuckles, a quiet, dignified laugh. Everything about him is dignified, except when it isn't; everything about him is controlled, except when he slips. How much of him is even real is hard to say...except for the name MARS. That was unmistakably his; that identity, if nothing else, belonged to him, was part of him. Even if everything else about him could change on a whim, that much was his and his alone.

"That is a more interesting theory than some have told is not accurate, but it is...interesting." His lip quirks, a grin spreading across his face. "I rather like that. I think I may use it."

"But non, eyes are not magic, they are not a lure. My eyes..."

"My eyes are the eyes of a man who knows exactly what he wants. And right now, I want to make at least two other men very, very jealous."

And then he leans down and presses his lips against hers, his arms wrapped around her shoulders, as the last of the chocobo stampede finishes crossing over them.
Avira Uh oh.

"Another life? You seem to make yourself a good scientist or detective in this life. Why does a thief hang around with a bunch of detectives?" The question may as well be rhetorical because Avira is certainly not expecting Max to actually shed light on this mystery. Just as he has remained very tight lipped about himself.

From her background, it makes his behavior even more maddening with how he continues to skillfully dance around who he is. But from her time spent here, she can at least conclude, with a held breath as he leans in so close again, that he's definitely deriving quite a bit of enjoyment in poking and teasing.

She doesn't want to admit she's enjoying it too. Imagine the smug look on his face then! That smirk from earlier would -never leave- around her! "It's...not?" her voice is filled with curiosity.

Good-natured laughter escapes her. Unlike the controlled chuckle of the Phantom Thief, Avira's seems very genuine. Honest. "If I'm to believe anything you've said to me today, you certainly don't believe that beauty is only skin deep. No, you're clearly very interested in getting under my skin."

Or under several people's skin right now!

"If they aren't enchanted, then why's it so hard to look away?" Avira muses, managing to break gaze with him for a moment. Her eyes look upwards, perhaps noting the reduced number of chocobo vaulting over their position. Her eyes slip to the side to see what little she can of the migrated herd...which actually is not very much since her back is pressed against the ground.

She looks back to Max, perhaps at just the right time to catch the spreading grin. Then, within a few seconds, he's stealing himself a kiss.

A muffled, perhaps indignant squeak escapes her during it. It's some consolation that this is not her first kiss -ever- being stolen, but that this hadn't gone to one of the three men she held in her confused heart right now was still pretty awful.

"You-!" The huntress is clearly quite flushed in the wake of that kiss. "Mercade will have your hide!" she blurts out, now trying to squirm free of his arms.
Maximilien "Why indeed," Max replies mysteriously as he pulls his lips away from hers. He doesn't stand up, not quite yet; the amusement in his eyes is clear as she declares Mercade's anger, and he holds up a finger to her lips. "Ah.../monsieur Alexander/ will have my hide? Well, now...that *is* telling, isn't it?"

He laughs and stands, offering her his free hand as he leans against his cane. "I believe the stampede is over; that was quite an experience, I think! I admit that I have never been in a stampede of giant yellow birds, and I do not think I wish to again."

Once she's up, he releases her hand, sliding his own back into his tuxedo pocket and looking off at the sky. "Do not worry, madamoiselle. I have no interest in pursuing you and adding to your confusion. I simply wished to appreciate fine art, oui? Forgive me if I have offended." He tucks his hand over his stomach and bows low, a polite, gentlemanly bow, then straightens.

"In any case, I will leave you to your birdcalls, mmm? I believe this was a /most/ enjoyable outing nonetheless...but I should head back, oui? I imagine you need your concentration."

And then, of course, there's the whole conversation on the radio, and Max bursts into a long, long fit of laughter before he just sort of disappears the moment her back is turned.
Avira There's a good question to be posed as to 'why Mercade' at this moment. Maybe because Angantyr wouldn't settle on hides. Maybe because Skoll currently had a far more dire problem to deal with than who he's going to date at the moment. There could be any number of reasons and Avira isn't inclined to explain any of them.

Not that he'd let her if he wanted to, putting a finger to her lips before she can even say anything. All kinds of guilt fills her when she hears that radio conversation come up and her face remains flush with embarassment.

The free hand is actually spurned and Avira rises on her own power, dusting off her butt, which is caked in dirt and grass. "Appreciate fine art indeed..." she mutters, unwilling to admit if she had enjoyed any of that. Reaching over, she pokes him in the chest. "Y-yeah, well, I needed experience in dealing with people like you anyway!" she rationalizes.

The radio conversation worsens and a thin layer of anger is piled upon her already very ripe embarassment. It's hard to tell who exactly she's angry with! "You! Stop that! Stop that laughing-!" Avira whirls upon him, only to find that Max... gone. "How does he DO that?"

This scene contained 23 poses. The players who were present were: Avira, Maximilien