A.N: I'm way too addicted to this game. No spoilers in this one, go ahead and read.
The soft thrum of the Albiore's engines was almost hypnotic after awhile, luring its passengers into a drowsy half-world. Luke had sworn he had been awake, but when Tear burst into the small lounge where he had been sitting he realized that he had not, in fact, spent the last half-hour conversing with the Cheagle elder, Tokunaga, and a rappig while drinking tea.
"Luke, come here, quick!" Tear said, bounding over to the redhead and tugging on the fabric of his favorite white jacket.
"What? What happened?" said Luke, quickly trying to erase the last traces of sleep from his mind. "What's wrong?"
"You have to see this!" she responded, pulling harder on his arm. "Come on!"
Luke followed her out the door and into the narrow central corridor, wondering what could have occurred. Had someone been hurt? Had there been another disaster? Had the girls finally tormented Guy into losing his sanity?
Tear pulled him along and then turned abruptly into one of the smaller auxiliary lounges. Several couches lined the room, including a long row of seats against the far right wall, which sported large windows overlooking the rushing clouds and endless sea. Tear halted just inside the door, motioning for him to be quiet and then pointing to the window-seat.
Jade was stretched out on the emerald cushions, apparently asleep, which was an unusual sight in itself. The colonel rarely allowed himself to be seen in such a vulnerable position. But what was more unusual was the other person curled up beside him, head buried in his teal uniform. Anise was fast asleep on the couch as well, using Jade as her pillow.
"They look so cute..." Tear whispered, a hand at her mouth covering... was that a smile? Luke gave her an odd look. She was certainly acting...giddy today...
"I... guess they do," Luke replied. "Was this all you wanted me to see?"
"Well... yeah," said Tear, a faint blush appearing on her cheeks. "I mean... it's not every day you see the colonel like this..."
"What was that about me?"
The pair turned to see that Jade was watching them, red eyes clearly visible as his glasses lay on the cushion beside him. Anise still remained fast asleep.
"Oh, Jade..." Tear said, looking embarrassed. "I'm sorry we woke you up..."
"It's all right," the colonel replied, letting his head fall back onto Tokunaga. "There isn't much an elephant can do about his lumbering footsteps, can he, Luke?"
Luke chose to ignore that comment. "I'm surprised you're allowing her to do that," he said, inclining his head towards Anise. The little girl's pigtails shook slightly as she shifted a little in her sleep.
"I'm not allowing her to do anything," the colonel replied. "She's holding me hostage." He gestured to Anise's arms, latched tightly around his waist. "See this grip? It's like iron."
Tear made a noise that almost sounded like a giggle, but was quickly stifled when Luke turned in her direction. "Admit it, Jade, you're just a big softie deep down."
"If you want to be lulled into a false sense of security, I won't stop you," Jade said, while shrugging as much as Anise's deathgrip would allow.
"Well, whatever," Luke said, smirking slightly. "We'll let you get back to sleep. Old men need all the rest they can get, after all."
"Indeed," Jade replied dryly, closing his eyes again.
"Sleep tight," Tear added, with another half-stifled giggle. "Come on, Luke." The two slipped quietly out of the room, allowing the door to slide shut behind them.
Jade continued to lie motionless, eyes closed, listening to the hum of the airship's engines and the pair's retreating footsteps. When they had vanished completely, he raised his head slightly, glancing down at the mass of brown hair latched on to him. "I know you're awake, Anise."
The little girl muttered something incomprehensible and probably offensive, but Jade ignored it. "Would you mind giving me back my waist?"
"Five more minutes," she replied sleepily, tightening her grip and turning her head slightly to block out the light. Jade sighed and reclined to make her more comfortable.
He gave her ten.