Beyond the Sky: Side Stories.

By Tasogare no Hime

Summary: A series of ficlets, and one-shot connected to the Beyond the Sky universe.

Warnings: none

Disclaimer: I do not own Last Exile. No money is being made off this use.

Pre-notes: Things posted here will be out of chronological order, varying from before, to shortly after BtS. They'll be about various characters including some OCs, and such. Basically I'm going to write and post as something comes to me. Expect sporadic updates.

This story takes place between the last chapter and the epilog of Beyond the Sky.


Changes

or

Conversations brought on by cats

Campbell sighed, standing beside Wina on the bridge. "The Captain never had problems like this." He thought to himself morosely. Of course realizing the Captain had never had 'problems like this' because Sophia had, had 'problems like this' all the time didn't really help.

Ships' cats were an old tradition for the aerial navy of Anatoray. Some considered them a necessity as they killed the rodents that might present a very real danger for the crew, especially if they carried some kind of disease. The Silvana had carried a few cats with it over the years. None ever seemed to stay long, they would wander aboard when the ship had docked, and would most of the time just wander off the next time the ship docked.

Now because of Dio, they had Aphid, a guild-bred cat. Small, sleek, with a short coat white as snow, larger than average ears, and a long tail. Also, a female. Dio had neglected to mention this until the kittens had arrived. The kittens were apparently the result of a stop to refuel, and resupply at Casino Royale, where they had, it seemed stayed long enough for Aphid to become Mrs. Damn Mangy Bastard. This didn't narrow the paternity guesses down any. According to Walker all the cats that had managed to take residence at Casino Royale were Damn Mangy Bastard.

Campbell found himself with eight cats aboard the ship. Eight cats were seven to many, especially when seven kittens had reached the age where getting into everything seemed like a good idea. Fortunately they were nearly weaned, and Dio said he had an idea about finding them homes. Campbell had decided to leave him to it. They were preparing to dock at the royal docking station near the palace. By the time they left again hopefully the seven kittens would have new homes.

For now Campbell stood as he was used to, he never used the captain's chair it felt too strange; and tried to ignore both Wina's attempts to keep from giggling, and the Kitten that was very determinedly climbing up the pant leg of his uniform. "...The Captain never had problems like this..."

Alex struggled to move as the rose vines crept over his arms, and up his back. Despite his efforts he remained unable to break free. Delphine's laughter ringing in his ears. A large rose bud brushed the side of his face, and bloomed into a blood-red flower that..Meowed at him?

Alex's eyes flew open "Wha?.." As his mind cleared, he realized he was not, once again a prisoner of the Maestro, but lying on his stomach in his own bed at the palace. The sharp pains over his back and arms were not from rose thorns, but the waddling balls of fluff that had taken over his bed. Tired, and aching he managed to turn his head to see the rest of the room, causing the kitten that had been trying to make a snack of his ear fall onto his pillow. Dio smiling happily, was sitting at his desk.

"I didn't think you were ever going to wake up! Lunch will be ready soon." Dio continued to beam at him not at all bothered by the glare Alex sent his way.

"Dio, if I had the energy to move I would kill you." He winced as another kitten climbed up and tried to eat his other ear.

The Silvana had arrived two days before, for repairs, and to report directly to Sophia about the incident with Blood Rose rebels that had caused the need for the repairs in the first place. Dio had been told to find homes for Aphid's kittens, which would be no problem as several of the maids had already been cooing over them the moment they were brought off the ship. Unfortunately for Alex, Dio had heard something about "therapy animals" somewhere, and had decided that the former captain needed a kitten. Whether he wanted one or not. He'd spent the past two days doing his best to avoid the boy, and cats. Now he apparently wasn't even safe in his own room. "Why are you in here?"

"You know, they say having a pet speeds up the healing process." Dio smiled hopefully at him.

Alex and buried his face in his pillow, one of the kittens was trying to eat his hair. Maybe if he ignored Dio for long enough the boy would take his cats and leave. No luck however the next time Dio spoke he was right next to the bed. "They really like you. They like Sophia too."

Alex, sighing again managed to prop himself up on his elbows, several mewling fluff balls rolled off him, and onto the mattress. "Of course they like Sophia, from their point of view she's a walking mass of shiny toys, and hiding places. Dio, I don't want a cat, I don't need a cat, and I certainly don't have time for one."

Dio pouted, picking up the kitten that had been trying eat Alex's ear, a black and grey tabby, and cuddled it for a moment before nearly shoving it in Alex's face. "I named this one after you."

Startled by the movement the kitten hissed at him. Alex rolled his eyes "No. There are plenty of people who have asked for kittens. Why are you so determined to force one on me?"

Dio, still pouting set 'Alex the Kitten' on the mattress. "Things are different on the Silvana with everyone gone. Immelman, and the others are out there so far away we don't know when we'll hear from them again, you and Sophia are here,...I can still talk to Lucciola whenever I want but he can't answer..."

"That's what all this is about? You want me to get well enough to go back to the Silvana?"

"It's not just me. They've left You, and Sophia's rooms the same. Campbell never sits in your chair. It doesn't feel right, the way things are now."

Alex sat up on the mattress, carefully to avoid both pain, and squashing kittens and reached for his prosthetic arm siting on the bed side table. He slipped the straps of the harness over the short sleeved shirt he had fallen asleep in and after the usual flexing of fingers to make sure everything was working properly he grabbed his other shirt. (This one with long sleeves to cover the prosthetic arm. People stared at him enough already.) He had to pause buttoning the shirt to pull a kitten off his back, all the while repeating something he recalled to have said to Vincent not that long ago. "Even if I do 'make a full recovery' I'm not going back to the Silvana. Like I told you before there is no reason for me to be in the skies any longer. In any case with Marius gone, David heading to Earth, and Vincent doing who knows what over in Disith, Sophia needs me here. You'll get used to the change eventually. I'm still getting used to this." He finished vaguely motioning his hand around the room.

Dio only continued to pout, Alex couldn't decide if this was better, or worse than the strangely smug look Alzey had worn after being told nearly the same thing.

A few moments later ,after kittens were rounded up, and back in their box. Alex, after taking his scheduled medications was now in his chair glaring in annoyance down into said box of kittens on his lap while Dio went to hold the door open.

"Dio, you aren't pestering the rest of the crew with this are you? I don't want to get any letters complaining about you bothering everyone."

"But everyone else wants you, and Sophia to come back too. Even the Silvana. Sometimes the claudia unit makes funny noises, Reciuse says she's crying because she misses you."

Alex blinked at him before looking down apparently deciding the kittens were much more interesting. "...I think Reciuse probably needs to look into retirement sooner than he thought."

After getting through the door he handed the box to Dio. "Here, take your damn cats."

The conversation was it seemed later forgotten, and the Silvana's visit ended days later with Alex despite Dio's efforts still free of kittens. As the ship was making its final preparations to leave Alex found himself, for a few moments alone on board the Silvana. He placed his hand against wall feeling the cold metal beneath his palm. "I miss you too." Aphid, sitting on a crate not far away was the only witness. She, of course never told anyone.

Back in the skies, and lying in his bed Dio sighed. Even though he had Aphid, and the rest of the crew of course, he felt lonely. He turned over on his side, and reaches to stroke Aphid who purred softly. "It's was a silly thought, wasn't it. Thinking that if Alex came back everyone else would too." Aphid only continued to purr, if Lucciola was there to speak, Dio couldn't hear him. He yawned, feeling sleepy, and switched off his lamp before snuggling under the blankets. "Good night, Aphid, Good night, Lucciola." Caught somewhere between sleep, and wakefulness he could have sworn he heard a softly whispered. "Good night, Lord Dio." In the morning he wouldn't remember it, but the rest of the crew noticed he seemed more his cheerful self afterwards.

The end


Authors notes: Wow there go things getting away from me again... This was originally supposed to be a silly story about Dio's antics of trying to get Alex to adopt a kitten, and it turned into a bit of an exploration about how Dio, and Alex feel about the changes in their lives...

Alex's prosthetic arm while a lot more advanced than anything we have today, is one again based on my Father's own prosthesis. He has a cable operated Transradial Prosthesis. You can find pictures on the Internet.

Alex's arm required an extra surgery to implant sensors connected to his nerves. The sensors send signals to the prosthetic that allow it to act just as his natural hand would. The sensors also give him a very limited sense of touch.