Title: Fly the Friendly Skies
Theme(s): #9 Rush; Thrill; Exhilaration
Disclaimer/claimer: Balthier and Ashe do not belong to me. Property of Square Enix.
Summary: “Fran will be upset that I killed her partner.”
“I don’t think that we should be doing this.”
“Look, it’s perfectly safe. Trust me.”
“You say that, but every time I do, we wind up in trouble.”
Balthier sat back in the co-pilot’s seat and looked at her. “You’re going to hold the whole Bhujerba thing against me forever, aren’t you? How many times do I have to explain that the door was locked?”
“If it was locked, then why did we get caught?” Ashe stared right back at him. “Uncle Halim gives me very odd looks every time I go to do trade meetings in his office now. I can’t even look at his desk the same way again.”
“You’d say that even if we hadn’t gotten caught by the Marquis.”
“That’s beside the point.” She glared at the controls in front of her. “I can’t fly this thing. We’ll crash.”
“If I could teach Vaan how to fly, I can teach you.” He stood up and circled the pilot’s seat. “Relax. You can’t pilot with a white-knuckled grip.” He put his hands over hers on the controls, easing her fingers out of their death grip.
“All that’s going to be left of us are fiery bits of shrapnel. Fran will be upset that I killed her partner.”
“She’ll be irritated, that’s for sure. There aren’t many people out there like me. Now, give the right side a little nudge. Try to keep the gauge on the left centered.” He had braced his feet at the anticipated jolt to the side, but still couldn’t stop himself from hitting the seat hard.
“You’re doing fine,” he assured her. “The Strahl’s a sensitive lady; use subtle movements instead.” He moved so he was beside her. “See? You’re already a pro at this.”
“Don’t you dare leave me,” she warned, her eyes glued on the empty sky that stretched out before them.
“Wouldn’t dream of it.” He sat down and put his hands on the co-pilot controls. He wasn’t doing anything, but the move seemed to let her relax. He watched as an hour went by, thoroughly enjoying the way her face went from extremely tense to slightly nervous to where it was obvious that she was enjoying herself.
“I think I’m starting to understand what the allure of flying is all about now,” she said, taking her eyes away from the gauges and windshield long enough to smile at him.
“Flying is all well and good, but there are certain pleasures one can find on land.”
She looked at him from lowered lashes. “What? There aren’t similar thrills to be found in the skies?”
He couldn’t stop the grin from spreading over his face if he wanted to. Hitting the auto-pilot button, he took her hand. “I’ll make a decent sky pirate out of you yet, Princess.”