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Streets are filled with --
Picking up what people have left behind.
Vehicle Drabble Call 
29th-Apr-2008 12:54 am
Two drabbles taken from my IJ; they were prompts for character + vehicles. You guys can leave your own if you want!

Balthier and an XJ Jag, 481 words.

'It's not flying,' Balthier said, leaning gently against the hood. 'But it's the closest you can get when you can't get off the ground.'

Fran would raise her eyebrows, except she's not terribly surprised.

It's not often that they fly in this country; Balthier has all the licenses but none of the will to do so. Horrible place, he'd always say. Rains all the damn time. But England calls, and her son will listen, so long as he manages to get his hands on the new equipment at the aviator's fair in the process. They have Larsa entirely to blame for this - he was the one who lured them back with offers of free lodging (in London, no less), free food (in London, no less) and a request for Mssr. Balthier to speak at the very prestigious and very new conference that --

Fine, fine, Balthier gave in after the fourth polite phone call and a distinctly impolite email from Basch. Drop the felony charges, stop trying to knight me and I'll think about it.

So there they are, under a grey English sky that's just turning light. 'It looks very old,' Fran says, unimpressed.

'Some things,' Balthier says, pulling open a door for her, 'are classic.'

The inside is beautiful. It's a compliment, when it comes to this sort of car. A Jaguar tries hard to dance between the lines of being either too British or too American, but the '77 - a Coupe - doesn't suffer from the identity crisis that plagues its younger cousins. The leather inside is pale instead of white; the wood panelling is varnished to a buff, but does not gleam.

'You could dig through its guts,' Balthier adds as Fran runs her fingers along the edge of the vinyl roof. 'But you'll never find fault with her.' He pats her hood. Fran can imagine the car purring.

'You buy a car,' she says, 'when we leave in two weeks?'

'I may close my eyes and think of her very often,' Balthier says, gently opening the driver's door now, 'but England sometimes produces very fine things. I'll take her with me when we go.'

'It'll cost you as much as the vehicle itself,' Fran points out.

Balthier ushers her in, and she slides her hands over the leather and wood of the steering wheel and almost forgets her objections. The key is in the ignition. It comes to life like a satisfied feline stretching.

'You like her,' Balthier says, sliding into the passenger's seat. He pats the dashboard fondly. 'Once you get us moving, you'll understand why I loved her.'

'Is this car an old acquaintance?' Fran asks delicately, putting the gear into drive.

'First one I ever stole,' Balthier says with relish.

They fly down the roads, which all led to London, and let the ground drop away beneath them as they go.


Claire and a limo, 635 words.

It's so typically him. Luck doesn't even know what to say - there probably aren't words for situations like these - and so he just shakes his head, and gets in when the door pops open.

'You haven't changed,' is the first thing out of Luck's mouth. 'Claire.'

That's a lie, but only if you look at it superficially.

The year is 1954; Baby Boomers are everywhere, streets are overflowing with song, women and wine, the streets are getting busier and the city's forgotten how to sleep. Luck feels old, older than Claire - who's greyed very well, if you can call it greying at all.

Claire's older; his face has changed - laugh lines edge his eyes now, and the lustre of his hair seems a bit dulled. But that's all that it is: superficial. Claire looks twenty years old lounging in the backseat of his limousine.

'Hello,' he says to Luck, with his usual smile. He reaches to the small minibar and taps his fingers against an already opened bottle of champagne. 'Come have a drink.'

Luck hasn't seen him in three years; apparently Claire'd gone on some European world tour. Judging by how Chane looks with her hair curling gently across shoulders bared by an expensive new dress, the trip was well spent.

'You,' Luck says, climbing into the limousine proper, 'are unbelievable.' Claire's had the driver stop in the middle of Little Italy, and everyone is staring at the behemoth of a car that's blocking their way. A man honks half-heartedly at them.

'Wait until we pick up Keith,' Claire grins, passing Luck a glass. Chane pours. They look good. They both look good. They're both good. 'And Berga.'

Claire's saying all these things, but all Luck can think of as he toasts their long-lived marriage is the fact that he's glad to see them again; glad that Claire's continuing to prove himself right about his own invincibility.

'He's shell shocked,' Claire whispers into Chane's ear, loud enough that Luck overhears. Chane looks at the Gandor with her liquid eyes; they've grown increasing tender, increasingly human, increasingly expressive over the years. Right now, they twinkle. She knows how her husband works - knows Claire better than Luck ever has or ever will.

Luck gets the distinct feeling that he's being laughed at.

Three years, he'd like to point out to Claire. Three years in which you didn't do much more than write the occasional postcard, and you come back in a limousine at a phonecall's notice?

'I think it's because he's always wanted to get swept off his feet like this,' Claire continues, wrapping an arm around Chane's waist. Luck feels himself relaxing, even though he should get angry, or at least feel exasperated.

Claire reaches and unlatches a compartment in front of him, and takes out a bouqet of roses.

Luck's mouth drops open.

Claire raises his eyebrows.

'I am,' Luck says, slowly, 'going to hit you.'

Claire puts flowers on Luck's lap, and easily catches his brother's wrist when it comes at his face. 'Don't crush them,' he says. 'Or Katie'll get upset.'

He kisses Luck once, still as unpredictable and fire-bright and damnable as he always is. He lets go of Luck's hand after that, and brushes Luck's rumpled lapels down. 'There we go,' Claire grins, accompanied by Chane's silent laughter. 'We've looked after our resident bachelor now.'

Luck opens his mouth to say something - but there really isn't anything to say. He smiles instead. 'How fast can this barge of yours go?' he asks, settling down next to Claire, their shoulders brushing.

'The right question to ask would've been "how slow",' Claire says, and he tells the driver to go - and they go, on and on through New York City, the world passing them by.
6th-May-2008 03:07 am (UTC)
neat au setting for balthier and his jag! :)
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