Disclaimer of the day: No, this fic wasn't brought to you by the very owner of Xenosaga. Moving on to more important matters…

Author's Notes: Again, this is just a humorous drabble, so pardon the implied OOCness and humiliation. :) You see, yesterday I was writing a serious story about Canaan teaching Rubedo how to pilot the E.S. Asher, but suddenly my mind began to wander, and that's how I ended up with this—crack—idea for a fic. Men and their vehicles... I guess I'll shut up already. :D Enjoy!

Just a scratch...

by Lucrecia LeVrai

------two years after the Miltian Conflict, in a military hangar on Second Miltia------

Canaan remained perfectly motionless as he watched his red-haired charge scramble out of the cockpit of the E.S. Asher, and then onto the elevator that would bring him to the ground level.

"Your final touchdown seemed quite rough, Rubedo," he pointed out in an even voice, well aware that the boy could hear him over the noise of the machinery.

"Yeah, I know," came the sheepish reply from above. Rubedo didn't wait for the platform to stop; he hopped off when it was still in the air, landing on his feet with practiced ease. "Sorry about that, old man. I guess I messed up the manual controls a bit."

A shadow of a frown crossed the Realian's face. "That's the very last thing I'd have expected from you, after six months of training. Should I perhaps reconsider my decision to let you fly the craft by yourself?"

"Hey, don't give me that look!" The boy shook his head, having finally caught up with the older pilot. "Seems like there's some glitch in the navigational system, and the readings were off by one or two meters. You'd better have it checked as soon as possible."

"I'll see about that." Canaan turned around and began to walk in the direction of the nearest control room. Rubedo trotted behind him, already unzipping the gray jacket of his obligatory uniform, since the air in the hangar was stiff and heavy. "In any case," the Realian went on, "if you felt that there was something wrong with the manual navigation, you could've always switched to autopilot."

The boy shrugged. "I thought you told me not to touch the auto, regardless of the circumstances."

"I did, because you won't learn anything useful otherwise." Canaan paused, and when he spoke again there was some reproach in his tone. "Then again, I thought you could handle a simple landing."

"Ah, it wasn't all that bad…" Rubedo said, rolling the sleeves up to his elbows. It was the most he could do within the military zone, given the strict dress code that applied even to civilians. "It might've just left a scratch or two, nothing to worry about."

Canaan stopped dead in his tracks. "What do you mean: a scratch or two?"

Rubedo, oblivious to the change in the man's voice, waved his hand in a dismissive manner. "I dunno, I think I could've accidentally scraped the left side against that catwalk over there… no big deal, the shaking was barely noticeable."

"You… could have accidentally scraped the left side against the catwalk," the Realian repeated; he was talking very slowly now, pronouncing each word with unusual care.

"Yeah…" Rubedo finally had enough sense to turn around and look at the pilot's face. He cringed. Canaan's eyes, usually the color of honey, had become much darker, almost brown. And even though the Realian's expression remained unmoved, something told the boy that it would be a good idea to take a step back, just in case. "Geez, Canaan, it wasn't as if anyone had been standing there…"

------two hours later, Rubedo's bedroom in Lt. Gen Helmer's apartment------

"Ow, ow, ow! Nigredo, can't you be a little more gentle? Damn, this is so humiliating…"

"Would you rather somebody else did it? Should I call Helmer, or perhaps the housekeeper–"

"Shut up! No… But I don't like you touching my butt, either! Ow!"

"Just lie still, and this will only take a minute."

Rubedo clenched his teeth and buried his face in the nearest pillow, overwhelmed by embarrassment and frustration rather than by actual pain. He tried to relax and think about something entirely else as his younger brother administered a salve to his hurting behind. He couldn't have stayed silent for more than fifteen seconds, however, before he finally exploded, "Stop laughing at me, you asshole!"

"I didn't say anything…" came the defensive reply.

"Yeah, sure, and why's your mind bubbling with glee? It's getting quite hard not to notice, you know!"

"I… I'm really sorry, Rubedo." The green-eyed teenager paused, trying very hard to suppress his amusement, but to no avail. "It's just…" His gaze trailed down and he finally lost it, bursting into a fit of uncontrolled laughter.

Rubedo was on top of him in a matter of seconds, pinning his wrists to the bed, red-faced and snarling. And still bare-butted, which only caused Nigredo to chuckle harder.

"I told you to shut up!"

"Alright, alright–!" The taller boy bit his lip and looked away, forcing himself to calm down, though it was a considerably difficult task. "…I'm quiet, already. Let go off me!"

Rubedo 'hmph'-ed and sat up, still looking as if he were ready to punch his sibling at any given moment. Nigredo rose as well, remembering to keep the tease out of his voice—and thoughts—as he said, "Now lay down and don't move, so I can finish this as soon as possible. Then we can both forget about this… incident."

Grudgingly, the redhead rolled onto his stomach. "I'm sure as hell not going to forget, at least until I get even with that guy," he growled into the pillow. "And I thought he was a special model with suppressed emotions! Dammit! It was only one stupid scratch on his precious E.S.!"