Heaven Beside You, Hell Within

Chapter 2:
A knock on the door interrupted the man from his slumber. He woke, but did not open his eyes. The second knock gave him the signal that he was not dreaming anymore. He sleepily removed the covers from his body and pulled on a clean pair of pants, the usual dark leather. He stopped to gaze at his reflection in the full-body mirror hanging on the wall, and ran his fingers through his hair to cure his bed-head. The full-body wasn't there for vanity, because surely he was not vain, but instead was because the crew felt that they were best represented by their Captain, and they were right. Not many lackeys knew that they were judged by their ship and Captain, but these Sky Pirates were not the incompetent fools that many thought them to be. He resumed his pacing to the door and the hatch slid open, and the Bangaa on the other side nearly knocked on the man's face.

"Sorry, Cap'n," the Bangaa hissed. Being a lizard, the Bangaa could not enunciate as well as humes. "We, uh, seem to be having a problem with the engine. Seems a copper wire's snapped in two," the Bangaa ducked, putting his hands over his head. This man was not a cruel captain, but this Bangaa must have been a new engineer or the like, because he clearly did not know his Captain, and his Captain wasn't familiar with him, either. Upon the lack of forceful contact, the Bangaa stood as erect as a half-lizard can, and awaited his Captain's orders.

"Well, it seems that we're going to have to go have it repaired then, doesn't it?" the man asked, his accent showing fully. "Here is a bag of Gil," he said and handed the Bangaa a small leather pouch filled with 3000 Gil. It was the Captain's reserve for if something went wrong with his ship; after all, it was his duty to keep his ship intact. "Tell the pilot to land at the nearest Aerodome and I trust that you know what to do from there?"

"Aye, Cap'n!" the Bangaa said excitedly. He had obviously never had such a level-headed or gracious captain before. He gave a salute and ran off to the cockpit. The man left in the doorway let out a chuckle and shook his head benignly. He returned to his room, the hatch behind him sliding closed. He pulled on a white shirt with a black and gold plate on the front. He pushed his hands back through his hair to make sure that all was in order and sighed with content. He fell onto his bed, and let out a smile. All of his problems from before his nap seemed to have faded and upon his waking; he felt rejuvenated and adventurous. He sat up, placing his chin on his hand, elbow on his knee. His left arm dangled between his legs as he hunched over. By the sun, he assumed that it wasn't even close to noon yet, and so his entire day lay ahead of him. He blew upwards, the strands of hair that had fallen into his face fluttered upward momentarily and then fell back down as his exhaling weakened and stopped. He rolled his eyes as if he were a newly pubescent child who had heard enough talk from his parents.

He walked out of his room, but as soon as his bare feet touched the freezing metal, he jumped back. He shook his head at his own forgetfulness and slipped into his half-boots. He resumed his walk, very casually and wholeheartedly to the galley. He nodded to his crewmembers that passed him, and the Viera on board surely would have engaged in conversation were she not already deep in thought. He opened the door to the galley and saw that there were a select few crewmembers already eating their breakfasts, and they all either gave a salute to the Captain, or some would even utter a, "Good morning." He of course, returned their salutations with a wave, but felt a little self-conscious now that everyone had acknowledged him, despite the fact that there were possibly only eight in the entire room. He grabbed a firm, shiny, red apple and took a seat on the windowsill. He propped his feet along the sill, his back in the corner against where the window met the wall. He tossed the apple into the air, watching the gleam that the sun's rays left on it, and caught it. His gaze drifted outside the window, and, as he ate the apple, his thoughts began to drift as well.

What if, he thought, he revealed his feelings today? There was an entire day ahead of him, and he was sure that he could muster the courage that it would take, and he was very sly, so the set up wouldn't be hard. He would allude to it, he planned, probably if he and the boy got a moment alone, and he'd tease at the idea to gauge a reaction. Last he checked, the closest city with an Aerodome was Bhujerba, so the Lhusu Mines might give the two some free time, and there was always that beautiful view from the bridge connecting the Aerodome to the city. So many options and all he needed was the chance. His brow furrowed in pure determination, ready to confess himself to the boy. All that was left was…

A blonde walked into the galley and, after grabbing a few small items, sat on the sill opposite the Captain. The boy. He sat in silence, nibbling a cracker, waiting to be acknowledged. The man at the other end of the sill tried to show no signs of noticing the boy's presence, although his stomach turned when he saw the tan and blonde of his first mate sit down across from him. He finished the apple, leaving only the core and stem, and casually dropped it into the trash chute. His face showed no surprise at the boy's presence, but the boy seemed eager to talk, as if he were a puppy begging to be given a pet on the head. The man motioned for the boy to speak, and so he took the initiative.

"You know," he said, "This ship would probably run a lot smoother if we cleaned up some of those dents on the engines from our last near-crash landing." The boy had actually learned some humility working under such a restrained Captain. He'd learned to keep himself under control and not to run off so hot-headedly when he wanted to do something and couldn't have his way. He had always done what was right, other than pick-pocketing here and there, but he was bright enough to know when he really needed to act on any given situation. It was a wonder that he used to be a spectacle for being a superb thief in Rabanastre, and now his aspirations for being a Sky Pirate were met and he seemed to mature quite a bit, though he was still a handful to deal with.

"Well, if you think you can run this ship any better, then go right ahead," the man said. He folded his hands on his lap, twiddling his thumbs. The boy was still a bit ignorant, but he was more level headed than he had been. The boy pulled one knee closer to his chest and rested his arm across it.

"Hey, don't get me wrong," he started to defend himself, "You're a great Captain, but I just think that we can get this baby to really move if we just cleaned up a bit." His eyes averted to the clouds. "We've been flying for so long… I really wonder what life on the ground has become now. I wonder what everyone's doing down there…"

A scratchy voice sounded through the PA system and startled nearly everyone. "We're landing in Bhujerba for some repairs. Prepare to dock in two minutes!"

"Well, my boy, that's our cue to go," the man said and walked out of the galley, followed by his first mate.

Author's Notes: Well, that's Chapter 2. It's nowhere close to what I had originally, but what I had originally seemed to be going in circles, so I had to make major revisions. Hopefully I can actually make some of these chapters longer with some substantial detail. Sorry for any disappointments.