Jakob: This is it. Today, I tell her my true feelings!
Cleo: Yes, Jakob? What is it?
Jakob: I... Um...
Cleo: Please hold that thought a moment. I hope this box in front of the door isn't what I fear it is.
Cleo: ...I knew it! It's full of fiend fur! This is clearly your doing, Rodrigo.
Rodrigo: It certainly is! How does it find you?
Rodrigo: Do you not sense the difference between it and the previous pelts I've given you? It is so soft! So luxurious! So delightful!
Cleo: It came from a fiend, Rodrigo—there's nothing delightful about it. Now please take this away and stop trying to make my life difficult.
Rodrigo: Oh dear. It seems I have failed again.
Rodrigo: Er, it's Jakob, yes? Might I inquire as to why you are staring at me?
Jakob: Why are you making Cleo's life difficult?
Jakob: Tell me at once! And if I don't like your answer, I will... I will...
Rodrigo: I am not TRYING to make her life difficult, sir! I am trying to make it happy!
Jakob: ...That's really all you're doing?
Rodrigo: Well, I mean, I SUPPOSE there may be another aim in all of this, but...
Rodrigo: Bah! I don't have to answer to you! Why are you so desperate to defend the woman anyway?
Jakob: I just...want her to be safe.
Rodrigo: Hmm? Methinks I smell a rat hiding in that non-answer of yours.
Rodrigo: Wiat, don't tell me you're also in—
Jakob: What, me? No! Wait. Yes. Yes? No. Wait.
Jakob: ...What do you mean by "also"?
The two men glared as sparks flew in the air between them. And then...
Rodrigo: Cleo, my dear! I bring a new present that will fill your heart with wonder!
Cleo: I am growing increasingly weary of having this conversation with you.
Rodrigo: This is not a pelt, I promise! Instead, I've brought a pair of bloody fiend talon—
Cleo: I DON"T WANT ANY FIEND BITS, YOU DAFT MAN!
Rodrigo: Ah. I...I see.
Cleo: Good. ...And as for YOU, Jakob!
Cleo: Stop following me hither and yon like some kind of cowardly shadow! If you have something to ask me, then do it!
Jakob: I... Erm...
Cleo: Honestly, the two of you are even stranger than normal today. Did something happen?
Rodrigo: I suppose one might say that, yes.
Cleo: You know what? I don't think I really care. Now both of you go cool your heads somewhere until you're more...normal!
Rodrigo: She's right. We ARE acting strangely.
Rodrigo: Instead of making her happy, we're having the opposite effect—AND getting shouted at in the process!
Rodrigo: Perhaps we should declare a truce, you and I.
Rodrigo: I was hoping this might turn into more of a give-and-take type of conversation.
Jakob: I'm not good at talking.
Rodrigo: Aaaah. So THAT'S why you are unable to confess your true feelings to her. An unenviable position indeed.
Jakob: And you can't seem to give her a present that doesn't make her flee in terror.
Rodrigo: Just so. Apparently I lack any concept of what to give a person besides random bits from a monster.
Rodrigo: I was raised by a band of rough-and-tumble mercenaries, so the world of gift-giving is all a little beyond me.
Jakob: I was...also raised by mercenaries.
Rodrigo: Truly? Ha ha! What a funny coincidence! It is little wonder we're both having so much trouble here.
Rodrigo: Let me ask your opinion or something. Oh, and a simple "yes" or "no" is fine.
Rodrigo: No need to thank me! Now then, I don't think the way we're currently going about things is going to get us anywhere.
Rodrigo: So what say we put our heads together and try to think of a way to tell Cleo how we feel TOGETHER?
Jakob: ...You really think I can help?
Rodrigo: I can promise nothing—but seeing as how we come from similar backgrounds, I have a suspicion we might work well together.
Rodrigo: The only other option is to go ask someone who knows more about this kind of thing—but I'm honestly not certain I'd even understand such advice.
Jakob: You might be right.
Rodrigo: You see? Now let us put our heads together and see what we can figure out!
After much thought, the pair decided to craft a present for Cleo together. For since mercenaries maintain their own gear, they were both quite skilled with their hands.
And so, a few days later...
Rodrigo: There she is. Let us see this thing done!
Jakob: ...I hope she likes it.
Rodrigo: Cleo! Pray accept this gift.
Cleo: Did it come from a fiend? Did it even TOUCH a fiend? If so, I don't want it.
Jakob: It's...not from a fiend. It's... Um...
Rodrigo: Enough, Jakob. I shall speak for the both of us.
Rodrigo: This is no fiend, Cleo—it is a small bear statue carved from wood.
Cleo: And you're certain it's not actually from some tree-fiend that you chopped down? ...Very well. I suppose I can accept it.
Cleo: Goodness, this is quite skillfully done. Thank you, Rodrigo.
Rodrigo: Actually, this was made by me and...
Rodrigo: (Hold a moment. Jakob is barely able to sputter out two words in front of Cleo.)
Rodrigo: (That means I could pass this off as a creation entirely my own!)
Jakob: (Flashback) I was...also raised by mercenaries.
Jakob: (Flashback) ...You really think I can help?
Cleo: Yes, Rodrigo? You were saying?
Rodrigo: J-just that this present comes from both Jakob and myself.
Rodrigo: We poured our hearts into making it, to tell you how we feel about you. For you see, I... No, WE... Um...
Jakob: C-Cleo! I also... Erm...
Cleo: It's all right. I understand.
Cleo: And it just makes me all the more happy. To be honest, I've never been given a present like this before.
Rodrigo: I am so glad you understand!
Cleo: I certainly do—this is your apology for getting in the way of my work of late!
Cleo: I now fully understand how sorry you are. Now, if you'll excuse me?
Rodrigo: *sigh* She didn't understand at all.
Jakob: Still, we DID make her happy. That's better than nothing.
Rodrigo: Yes, I suppose you're right.
Rodrigo: Well then, no sense in breaking up a good thing. Let's continue striving to make her happy together!