A/N: Uhh first Abyss fic. I've had this idea floating around for a day or two and I decided to try writing it out, so... here it is. The ending is a bit rushed and it's nothing fancy, but whatever. I tried to keep it all in one sitting and I needed to go to bed. :P Please note that there are some slight spoilers about Guy's phobia. (PS, give us a ToA section!!)
Enjoy, or something. (11/28/06: Reuploaded to fix some typos and whatnot.)
It was a sunny day.
Noelle slipped her glove off from her hand to lick the tip of her pointer finger and raised it to head level. She smiled as she saw that the wind was calm; this would make things so much easier. "Perfect."
She looked over her shoulder and turned around. Peering down from the top of the Albiore, she saw a familiar and very welcome face. The blonde man waved at her with a smile.
"Hi, Guy!" she responded with a wave of her own. "I see you're wearing that suit Aston gave you," she added with a chuckle - Guy grinned and readjusted the goggles on his head. He was wearing that pilot - or maintenance? - suit that the Sheridan crew gave him after he declared that he wanted to fly the Albiore. She remembered that moment - at the time, it seemed as though he was about to make a declaration of love... to her. But after being interrupted by Luke, Anise and Natalia, he finally confessed that he just wanted to fly.
Noelle remembered that dumbfounded feeling. A side of her was telling her not to get her hopes up, and it seemed she should've listened to that side. Ah, well...
She shook her head lightly to try pushing that memory back into what she called her 'stupid thought' pile, but she was careful enough not to have Guy notice her gesture. "Are you ready for your first flight lesson?" the young pilot finally asked.
Guy nodded fervently, holding his clenched fists up to his shoulders. "Am I ever! Let's do this!" He looked like a little boy at an amusement park. Cute.
Noelle fought against the blood that threatened to flush to her cheeks. "Alright then, meet me inside the ship." He nodded in response and marched up the stairs that led into the vessel. Noelle turned on her heel and dropped down the trap door located in the ship's roof. Her boots made a distinct clacking sound as she landed almost flawlessly on her feet. The jolt of pain that ran up her spine from the impact of foot against ground was only minor; she did that so often that she had gotten used to it. Still, for some reason she wondered if it would affect her back after a long time...
Then she wondered -- what if someone would stand under her jumping spot and catch her as she fell? She was average-sized, more on the slim side; who'd have problems catching her?... Oh, of course. Guy. She groaned mutely at the thought - Guy would probably either move out of the way or drop her as soon as they touched. Poor boy. It musn't be easy having such a severe case of gynophobia...
--Wait. Why was she thinking about Guy catching her?
Off to the 'stupid thought' pile you go, she thought.
Guy was already standing by the controls. Noelle walked up to him and sat down in the pilot's seat. Blowing a strand of hair away from her face, she clapped her hands together and rested them in her lap as she looked up at Guy. "I know you're really into fontech, so surely you know a lot already," she started. "Are you sure you need me to brief you in on the controls? You really look like you'd be able to ace flight once you begin..."
"Yeah, I do know a little about machinery," said the young man, rubbing the side of his head with his hand. He smiled - Noelle wondered why he chose to say only 'little'. "But I'd rather go over the controls first - just in case." She could've sworn he winked just then.
"Right." Running her eyes over the controls, she decided which switch to brief him about first. "First of all, there's the door switch here - it controls the main door and the trap door on the roof." She flipped both of the switches on the pannel, then the mechanical sound of shutting doors could be heard. "Obviously, this is the first thing you have to check. Next is the ignition..."
Noelle went on, explaining the function of each switch on every pannel there was. She took very brief pauses in between details to glance at Guy; he was standing next to her, one hand on his hip (as usual) and the other holding his chin. He was bent over, ever so slightly, in order to get a somewhat closer look at the controls - eyebrows slightly furrowed, he had a look of complete concentration on his face. He nodded with an "mhm" as she spoke - at least she knew he was actually absorbing all the information instead of just pretending to be listening like Luke would do. She was at least grateful for Guy's attention - unknowingly, she smiled.
"... and then you turn off the engine after you've landed safely." She looked up from the controls once more to look at him. "Understand?"
Guy looked down at her and beamed brightly. "Got it. Thanks, Noelle."
She found herself fighting against the blood rushing to her cheeks again. "A-alright. Here, take my seat--" laughing nervously, she rose to stand up, but her foot caught something - Lorelei knows what - and she lost her balance. Without so much as a gasp, she headed face-first towards the floor--
--and she found herself face-first into Guy's chest. Noelle felt strong hands gripping her arms - did... did he move to catch her?
She was stunned, but the shock began to wear off as Guy quickly helped her back to her feet and stepped back. A side of her said she felt disappointed...
Noelle could tell from the look on his face that he was extremely uneasy. He had just come into contact with her - a woman - by accident, and it most likely triggered his gynophobia. She felt likewise uneasy with the situation. Finally, she cleared her throat and looked down at the tip of her boots, as though in shame. "I-I'm sorry... I didn't mean to--"
"Yeah. I know. Don't worry about it." Guy breathed out. He seemed to have relaxed a bit - he was no longer standing stiffly and he was slowly rubbing his temple. "You tripped on accident, so it's not your fault. I'm the one who shouldn't be freaking out."
He said those words, but she still felt kind of bad. Why oh why did he have to be plagued by that phobia of his? Sigh...
There was a moment of silence and the two just stood there. "... Actually," Guy finally started, and Noelle looked up at him. "Can you touch me again?"
There it was again - that stunning feeling of shock. "E-excuse me?" she huffed out.
"It's probably the best way to overcome my fear," he explained - he looked completely casual now. He must be serious. "I think I'm improving already; I saved Anise, I've carried a maid in my arms, and I just caught you without screaming. If I keep this up, maybe someday I'll be completely cured."
Eyes wide, Noelle took this in and nodded slowly. It made sense, anyway.
"So - go ahead. Touch me. Anywhere."
She finally lost the battle against her blood, and her cheeks flushed a bright shade of red. "W-well, um..." she mumbled coyly, holding up her hands to her collarbone nervously.
Guy apparently didn't realize what he was insinuating. "What? Oh, don't tell me you're afraid of the opposite sex too..."
"N-no, not at all!" she exclaimed, waving her hands before herself. "It's just, well... with the way you put it... kind of awkward... but..." It looked like he still didn't get it. A heavy sigh escaped past her lips. It was about time to give up. "Fine. Baby steps, okay?" He nodded, and she took a slow step toward him.
Eyeing him up and down, she wondered what to do first... finally, she extended her pointer finger and gently poked him in the shoulder. She saw the corner of his mouth twitch ever so slightly - looks like he was right. His fear as it was definitely wasn't as bad as a few months prior. Noelle slowly and gently took his hand, causing him to shiver a little. Holding it within hers, she adjusted her fingers to grasp it firmly and shake his hand ever so slowly. "See? This isn't so bad, is it?" Guy shook his head a little and stared at their linked hands, as though hypnotized. And they were both wearing gloves, too - Noelle secretly wondered what the skin of his hand felt like... then promptly shoved the idea into the 'stupid thought' pile. Letting go of his hand, Noelle then lightly took ahold of his shoulders. She noticed he was stiffening again. Looks like he's reaching his limit.
"You know," she began meekly, "you don't have to go through this yet. I don't want to scare you any more than I have already..."
"N-n-not at all," he stuttered - his voice was shaking. "Either I try to cure myself soon or I'll be doomed to stay like this forever."
Noelle could've sworn there was a second meaning to that statement. "Well... suit yourself... but try not to scream in my ears or anything, okay?"
Okay, Noelle. You can do this. One, two, and... three.
Letting her hands slide down from his shoulders, she rested them on his chest ever so briefly. Moving her hands over to the sides and then the back of his torso, she took a step closer to him and wrapped her arms around his body snuggly, resting the side of her head on his collarbone.
Noelle could feel poor Guy shaking like a leaf. She really wanted to spare him from this kind of treatment, really, she did!... But then again, apart from the shaking, this was kind of nice...
"I'm sorry," she mumbled, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry--"
Shock overcame her once again as she felt arms wrap around her figure tightly. Of course, the shaking was still there, but still... I don't believe it. He had rested his cheek on the top of her head. I so don't believe it.
Noelle and Guy were actually hugging.
But, damn, he has holding her tightly... too tightly. She could've sworn he was squeezing the air out of her lungs. Whoops. She knew it was time to stop when she heard something reminiscent of a whimper escape from Guy's throat. She placed her hands on his chest again and gently but quickly pushed herself out of his grasp. Red-faced, she breathed heavily to try to regain the oxygen Guy had been squeezing out of her. The young man doubled over with his hands on his knees, panting even more heavily than Noelle. His bangs fell over his eyes, so she could barely see his face.
"Oh boy," Noelle squeaked, "I'm so sorry, Guy. I... I, um..."
"Don't worry about it," he replied as soon as he got his breath back. He straightened up and looked at her - it looked as though he had almost recovered from that hug already. "But, I think you forgot one more important step."
Noelle arched an eyebrow inquisitively. "Huh? What step did I--"
Her speech was promptly cut off as Guy narrowed the space between them and held her chin up. In a swift but seemingly eternal movement, he leaned forward and planted a gentle kiss on her cheek.
Her eyes widened. She was paralyzed by astonishment.
"I... I'll be right back. Excuse me." Guy quickly stuttered. He flicked the switch for the trap door and quickly made his way outside. The sound of footsteps heading towards the Albiore's tail resounded throughout the ship.
Guy breathed out very heavily. He sat down indian-style near the Albiore's tail and ran his hands quickly and irritably through his hair. "I thought I was going to die..."
"Guy -- you kissed a GIRL!"
The young man almost screamed in surprise. He looked over his shoulder to see none other than Anise, standing there with a look of what seemed to be disbelief on her face. "A-Anise? How did you get up here?"
"Ahh, I have my ways, you know - but Guy, you actually just kissed Noelle! Right? Right?!" she squeaked, clasping her hands together while taking daring steps towards him. Guy scooted away from her, worried that he might fall off the ship.
"No I -- wait... how would you know anyway?"
The preteen smirked and puffed her chest (what little she had, anyway) with mock arrogance. "I saw you two through the windshield," she declared, "as for how I managed to see through it from that height... well, as I said, I have my ways." she winked and casually rested her fists against her hips.
Guy sighed. "Right. That's Anise for ya..."
"Say, Guy," she continued as she plopped down next to him, causing him to scoot further away from her. "You've never had your first kiss, right? On the lips, I mean."
"What do you think?" he almost sighed, scratching his head. "I was five when I got this phobia of mine. Of course I haven't..."
"Well, it's about time you overcome that fear of yours!" Anise exclaimed, standing up again and pointing at him like an army commander. "You're what, twenty-one? And you've never had your first kiss? That's just sad! I order you to go back in there and go get your first kiss!"
Guy could've sworn his head was about to explode.
"Or maybe you need some extra encouragement?" she continued with a mischievious look. "Maybe if we bet some gald on it? You owe me 1,500 gald if you don't go kiss her right now."
His eye twitched ever so slightly. "Maybe some other time, Anise. I've had enough rough treatment for one day..."
"Ahah! You're chickening out! Come on, cough up the dough!"